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Toward the 





















social scmm 



Liberally Educated 


Liberally Educated 


CHARLES A. NELSON, Consultant 




Copyright, 1957, by The Fundfor Adult Education 

First printing: October, 1957 

Second printing: January, 1958 

Printed and bound in the United States of America 
Press of A.Colish, Mount Vernon, New York 




President, Vassar College, 
Poughkeepsie, New Tork 


Chairman of the Board, General Mills, 
Inc., Minneapolis, Minnesota 

Director, University of Notre Dame 
Foundation, Notre Dame, Indiana 


Chairman of the Board, The B. F. 
Goodrich Company, Akron, Ohio 


President, The Johns Hopkins Uni- 
versity, Baltimore, Maryland 


Vice President, The Ford Foundation; 
President, The Fund for the Advance- 
ment of Education, New Tork, N. T. 


President, The Fund for Adult Educa- 
tion, White Plains, New Tork 


Former Chairman, Board of Directors, 
General Foods Corporation, 
White Plains, New Tork 


Former Lecturer on Labor Problems, 
Harvard Graduate School of Business 
Administration, Boston, Mass. 



President, United Air Lines, 
Chicago, Illinois 


President, Pendleton Tool Industries, Inc., 
Los Angeles, California 


President, Bell & Howell Company, 
Chicago, Illinois 


Former President, League of Women 
Voters of the United States 



ALLAN B. KLINE, Vice Chairman 


G. H. GRIFFITHS, Vice President and Treasurer 

R. J. BLAKELY, Vice President 

JOHN OSMAN, Vice President 

MARTHA C. HOWARD, Secretary 


Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 


U wring the last four years a good deal of discussion has taken place 
about the role of liberal education — that education which involves par- 
ticular attention to the humanities and the social sciences — in the de- 
velopment of executive talent for business. This discussion, some of it 
highly argumentative, has already provoked action designed to demon- 
strate in practice what liberal education for executives really is and 
what it has to contribute to executive development. Programs, variously 
organized, have been offered by the University of Pennsylvania, Clark 
University, Dartmouth College, Williams College, Wabash College, 
Swarthmore College, Southwestern at Memphis, and Pomona College. 
The University of Denver, the University of Akron, and Northwestern 
University will enter the field in the fall of 1957. 

This discussion and action has engaged the closest interest of The 
Fund for Adult Education because of its commitment to the advance- 
ment of liberal education for adults. In an effort to sharpen the focus of 
the action and discussion, the Fund, working with The Center for the 
Study of Liberal Education for Adults, located in Chicago, proposes to 
issue three small books, perhaps later to be combined, after revision, 
into one. The first book you hold in your hand; the second will be an 
account of programs actually being offered; and the third will be an 
analytical report of the proceedings of a conference to discuss the issues 
in their many ramifications, held at Gould House, Ardsley-on-Hudson, 
New Tork, October 12-15, 1957. 

This little book is designed to illustrate three propositions which 
are fundamental to an understanding of the education of executives in 
our time. 


The first is that the tasks executives have begun to face today and 
will inescapably confront tomorrow, arising out of the economic and 
social roles of corporations in American life, are of a magnitude that 
cannot even be properly grasped, let alone successfully dealt with, except 
by men with "big" minds. 

Second, that, in terms of education, the best way to cultivate the 
requisite "bigness" of mind is through the liberal studies, conceived as 
those areas of knowledge which enlarge the understanding and deepen 
the insights of men with regard both to men themselves and men in their 
social relationships, and which, at their highest levels, assist them to 
develop the capacity successfully to deal with these abstract ideas that 
illuminate and allow them more wisely to control the world in which 
they live. 

And, finally, that since the needs of men for understanding and 
insight are never wholly met — that no man can ever congratulate him- 
self that he has all the understanding and insight he needs — he should 
early in life acquire the habit of turning to the liberal studies in his 
leisure that he may refresh himself and go on growing. Liberal educa- 
tion, in short, should be continuous throughout life. 

It is not assumed in these pieces that executive development can be 
wholly based on liberal education. There is unquestionably a body of 
knowledge all executives must have. It consists of two parts: general 
vocational knowledge properly to be acquired in schools, specific voca- 
tional knowledge properly to be acquired "on the job." But it is here 
argued that the liberal studies add a dimension to executive training 
without which executives will be unable to measure up to the challenges 
they confront and will continue to confront in the foreseeable future. 

Approaching this point the other way around, it must not be for- 
gotten that liberal education is a vastly important "thing in itself" — 
that it embodies a cluster of values of high significance in themselves 
and for themselves, quite apart from their specific utility to men pur- 
suing a particular vocation. This, too, is recognized in these selections; 
and the argument pursued is that executives need to appropriate values 


from liberal education without getting the idea that they are either 
going over to it as the whole of their training, or wholly taking it over 
as an adjunct to their vocational development. 

Full justice cannot be done to these complex matters in a slim vol- 
ume like this one. No pretension is made that the full range of the 
debate now underway about the role of the liberal studies in executive 
training has been illustrated here. The purpose of this book is to 
inform readers that there is a growing movement in the direction of 
liberal education for executives and to allow some of the chief spokes- 
men of this movement to present their supporting arguments. We hope 
thus to arouse interest in the subject and to encourage the development 
of more adult liberal education programs for management. 

G. Scott Fletcher, President 
The Fund for Adult Education 

White Plains, New York 
August, 1957 


The Writers, 

GILBERT W. CHAPMAN is President, The Yale and Towne 
Manufacturing Company. 

FRANCIS H. HORN was President, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, 
New York. 

E. DIGBY BALTZELL teaches sociology at the University of 

WILFRED D. GILLEN is President, The Bell Telephone 
Company of Pennsylvania. 

FRANK W. ABRAMS, citizen-at-large, was formerly Chair- 
man of the Board, Standard Oil, New Jersey. 

RALPH BARTON PERRY (1876-1957), was Professor of 
Philosophy at Harvard University. 

ALFRED NORTH WHITEHEAD (1861-1947), one of the 
most distinguished philosophers of his time, was in his latter 
years at Harvard University. 

FREDERIC E. PAMP, JR. is with the American Management 
Association as a Division Manager. 

PETER F. DRUCKER is Professor of Management, the Grad- 
uate School of Business, New York University. 

JOHN CIARDI is poetry editor, The Saturday Review, and Pro- 
fessor of English, Rutgers University. 

FREDERIC R. GAMBLE is President, American Association 
of Advertising Agencies. 

MORTIMER J. ADLER is founder-director, The Institute of 
Philosophical Research, San Francisco, California, and has 
lectured recently in liberal studies for Industrial Indemnity 
Company and Inland Steel Company. 

J. ROBY KIDD is director, Canadian Association for Adult 

ROBERT J. BLAKELY is Vice President, The Fund for Adult 

CLARENCE B. RANDALL was formerly Chairman of the 
Board, Inland Steel Company. 

The Editors, 

ROBERT A. GOLDWIN is Director of Research, The Amer- 
ican Foundation for Political Education, Chicago, Illinois. 

CHARLES A. NELSON is Management Consultant for Cresap, 
McCormick and Paget, New York. 




Introduction . c. sgott fletgher vii 

' Specific Needs for Leadership in Management ... i 


A Lifetime of Learning ........ 9 


Bell Telephone's Experiment in Education . . . . 1 1 


Why Should a Company Spend Money in This Way? . 22 


The Big Job of the Moment 24 


When Is Education Liberal? .... ... 26 


" The Aims of Education 33 


" Liberal Arts as Training for Executives . . 36 


The Importance of Language ....... 49 


An Ulcer, Gentlemen, Is an Unwritten Poem ... 50 


Communications and Distribution 56 


" Labor, Leisure, and Liberal Education 57 


Liberal Education for Business Leadership ... 75 


Social Innovation 85 


The Free Individual and the Free Society . . .87 


The Cultivation of the Mind 100 




Liberally Educated 

Specific Needs for 
Leadership in Management 


Not since the earliest communication of knowledge has edu- 
cation been so much a subject of public discussion as it is 
today. Many people far removed from the academic world 
have become interested in this subject. This has occurred as 
the result of a widespread realization that our educational 
capabilities have not kept pace with many of our national 

It is a healthy sign that more and more public officials, 
business executives and trade union leaders are acutely aware 
that general problems of education belong not to a small 
segment of society^ butto all of us. The educators want it that 
way. The responsibility for good education is ours as much as 
it is theirs. It is a universal problem which bears upon the 
continued preservation of our free society; its solution will 
come only from the joint effort of all of us. 

Foremost among the groups looking for an answer to the 
problem is American industry. In these times of revolutionary 
scientific developments, industry is under a constant, pressing 
need for scientists and engineers capable of maintaining, di- 
recting and advancing our technology. We are also confronted 
by a growing need for more executive leaders, not only to 
insure the long-range continuity of management, but also to 
make certain that today we have men capable of handling the 
complex affairs of modern corporations. 

The future security of this country and the world rests 
upon the ability of our educational system to develop the 

highly educated man. Well-balanced maturity which is essen- 
tial to our society must emanate from the universities. We 
shall need well trained and analytical minds that can appraise 
the problems that surround them. In the days ahead, which 
will be full of international tension and great economic chal- 
lenge, the moral and spiritual strength which comes with the 
educated mind will be essential to the preservation of our 


If our country is to continue to grow and prosper mate- 
rially and spiritually, there must be a constant exchange of 
ideas, needs and ambitions between the educator and the 
industrialist. This type of coordination will give rise to a real 
understanding of each other's problems, and the realization 
of our common goals. America's role of leadership in world 
affairs rests upon our political stability, educational growth 
and industrial democracy. Whether the entire non-communist 
world will live or die, depends upon the success or failure of 
American capitalism. What we do or fail to do has a world 
significance. American corporation executives carry a large 
share of the burden of this responsibility. These men, depend- 
ing upon the size and nature of the companies which employ 
them, make decisions, project plans, and weigh problems 
which in their effects reach quite beyond immediate cor- 
porate goals with significant reflection in world affairs. A 
simple illustration of this is the content and character of over- 
seas promotion and advertising sponsored by American com- 
panies. Our own government now recognizes that how we 
advertise and what we advertise abroad may either advance 
or retard our foreign policy. American industry has invested 
large sums in plants abroad and we employ great numbers of 
citizens of other countries. We buy and sell goods and services 
all over the globe and we function as the nuclear center of the 
entire free world. 

To meet the challenge of industry's new responsibility in 
the world requires a cultivation of mind and outlook that 
must come from the educational institutions of our land. My 
undergraduate days were spent in a school of engineering. 
After four years of this highly specialized training, I imme- 
diately began my business career in an American corporation. 
Since that time, it has become increasingly apparent to me 
that the problems of an executive become less specialized and 
more general or basic as the man advances toward the top. 
The specialist cannot function effectively at the top level of 
management if all he brings to it is his specialty. At that level, 
the daily problems call for broad general knowledge, open- 
mindedness, an understanding of human nature, an insight 
into human frailties, a fairness of mind, a clarity of thought, 
all these beyond the ordinary knowledge of a complex busi- 
ness problem. There must be an intellectual cultivation through 
which an individual views the main current of the life 
around him. 

The specialist is not excluded from a career in top man- 
agement; it would be a little ridiculous for an engineer to sug- 
gest that. My contention is that the specialty alone, which 
thrives so well in the laboratory or research center, is in itself 
not sufficient qualification for top executive responsibility. 
Let the specialist extend his knowledge into the broader fields 
of general learning; then he, too, can move ahead — perhaps 
even more rapidly than others. 

The qualifications needed for leadership in industry are 
developed largely through a liberal arts education. Let us stop 
for a moment and repeat what is perhaps obvious. The phrase 
"the liberal arts" means the arts appropriate to a free man. 
These arts originally were seven: grammar, rhetoric, logic, 
music, arithmetic, geometry and astronomy. The purpose of 
these studies was not to fill the human mind with facts; it was 

to train the student to use his mind, to have intellectual curi- 
osity, taste, moral strength and imagination. The scope of 
liberal arts has been broadened to include many other disci- 
plines, among them literature, languages and fine arts. For 
most students, none of these has a specific vocational value, 
but all of them contribute to the enrichment of intellect and 
judgment. This enrichment is not produced by super-spe- 
cialized training. Here the mind is too often isolated and can- 
not cope with the strangeness of the great outside world, with 
its social and economic differences, its changing language and 
shifting customs. We need people who can understand the 
responsibility of American industry and the influences which 
radiate from it. This kind of leadership requires a sympathetic 
knowledge of the people of other countries as well as our own, 
familiarity with the history of all peoples, their modes and 
customs. The preparation for this type of leadership must 
begin in education. 

Education must also prepare future industrial leaders for 
the complexities they will encounter in this vitally expanding 
American economy. The executive of today and the future 
will have to make, or participate in the making of, decisions 
involving an almost limitless number of considerations. He will 
have to think clearly and systematically, using all the avail- 
able information to its fullest extent. The corporation can 
teach the trainee the facts of credit and finance, but there just 
isn't the time, or the facilities to teach him to attack problems 
logically. If colleges and universities will give courses in gen- 
eral economics to all undergraduates who aspire to careers in 
industry, so much to the good. But it is more important for 
educators to train minds to think in an organized fashion. 
Many young people coming out of college cannot understand 
the simplest accounting terms. Again, we do not necessarily 
need courses in reading balance sheets, but certainly we do 


need some form of intellectual training that will make it pos- 
sible for the normally intelligent person to understand a bal- 
ance sheet or, for that matter, anything else he reads. 

That brings me to the next problem: the ability to write is 
as important as the ability to read. Management is deeply 
involved in the art of communication and often success and 
profit depend upon it. Eventually, all decisions must be com- 
municated, either orally or in writing. The ability to express 
oneself and the ability to understand what is expressed are 
absolute prerequisites for successful executive performance. 
At the very top, the man who cannot express himself will not 
be successful; for it is he who must communicate the essential 
meaning of business decisions and policies to all levels. . . . 
Without the ability to read intelligently and write coherently, 
the young man is not a prospect for executive responsibility. 
A career in industrial leadership offers no prospect of reward 
to him. 

Much of this need can be satisfied by exposing more stu- 
dents, whatever forms of disciplines they are pursuing, to the 
great literature of our language. I am appalled by the glaring 
unfamiliarity some young people have with good books. Yet 
there is no surer way to a good command of English than by 
reading books. The other values which one derives from books 
join with the love of music and the arts in the development of 
a good mind and a good spirit. The humanistic influence of 
great art is one of the most positive forces in the development 
of a well-balanced mind, capable of attitudes and beliefs, 
which can assume responsibility in a free society. The arts 
bring to a man a sense of peace with the world and a warmth 
of heart and a love of beauty that will aid in molding that 
man into a person capable of making great decisions. 

Corporate responsibilities are most often met and carried 
out in group relationships. We hear today frequent reference 


to the management team. This is a reality. No one man is 
capable of determining the facts and making all the decisions 
in the complex industrial economy in which we live and work. 
To live with one's peers, to have their respect and to have the 
ability to abide by the decisions of the recognized authority, 
these are the qualities essential to success. The warmth of 
feeling and the proper humility, which must always underlie 
relationships with a group, are enriched by and perhaps de- 
rived from exposure to the humanities at the formative age. 

The levels of management must be manned by people who 
understand others. This is the key to leadership. A corpora- 
tion is nothing more than a group of men and women, with 
all the qualities that make the human being so complex. How 
well the executive understands human nature, inside and out- 
side his own company, will be the ultimate measure of his 
capacity for leadership. He will learn nothing about this in 
the laboratory; he will find no blueprint of it on the drawing 
board. His understanding can only come from living and 
learning, that is, from experience. 

Education, and only education, can start the process to 
bring this understanding to a person. Some of it perhaps will 
come from the study of psychology; some of it from the in- 
spiration of great artists and writers; some of it from a study of 
history, which can so well arouse a deep feeling of respect and 
humility. The sciences will bring to the young man a disci- 
pline of mind, a respect for the truth, a desire for the facts that 
will stand him in good stead throughout his business career. 

Now this may seem to conflict with the currently expressed 
fear that we have a dearth of scientists and engineers, while 
the Russians are apparently graduating a tremendous num- 
ber each year. Let me say directly that I am not recommend- 
ing the curtailment of specialized training in favor of the lib- 
eral arts. I am advocating, in the first place, more general 

education for our specialists; in the second place, a new, 
strong emphasis on the liberal arts as a preparation for careers 
in executive management. Our focus has been sharply drawn 
to technical training by what seems to be an unsatisfied need 
for applied scientists and engineers. There should be an 
equally sharp focus directed to general education so that 
young men and women will be encouraged to know that this, 
too, is a road to achievement in industry, and any other field 
of endeavor 

The need in industry, when boiled down, simply calls for 
men with a well-balanced education. Many institutions of 
learning realize this need and have revised their curricula so 
that preparation for engineering and scientific degrees now 
include some liberal arts courses. The task ahead is to get 
other colleges and universities to follow suit. This is made dif- 
ficult not only by the constant clamor for more specialists but 
by the fact that many educators feel that the kind of educa- 
tion about which we are talking makes a fuller and happier 
personal life but has little practical value for the world at 
large. Actually, however, the men who go through the process 
of higher education and learn how to lead full and happy lives 
are exactly the ones best qualified as leaders to carry on the 
responsibilities of the Atomic Age. What the world needs, and 
what American business needs, is a steady stream of creative 
men with a broad knowledge and a capacity for independent 
thinking. We need men who pursue ideas, who will seek to 
solve problems, although they may have nothing to do with 
the immediate business problems before them — men whose 
thought processes do not end with the business day, who, 
through their education, have learned that one of the greatest 
joys in life is to be able to think for one's self. 

In calling for greater emphasis on the liberal arts, we are 
seeking to keep our civilization intact. If its growth is retarded 


at all, it will be in its spiritual and intellectual fiber. It is here 
that we need strength if we are to evolve into a happier and 
more cultured society. 

If this philosophy becomes the backbone of our educa- 
tional system, the highly-trained specialist and the liberal arts 
student will both benefit by it. 

One day when the social sciences have reached further 
maturity, we will, perhaps, know more about the sources of 
human happiness. We do know that these blessings lie deep in 
the individual: our capacities to think and react to thought, 
to live by spiritual values, to have understanding and toler- 
ance, to comprehend ideas, to be inspired by greatness, and 
to have a sense of God's presence. Unless our education is 
directed to the enrichment of these resources, it will fail us in 
providing our leaders and fail us in our time of danger. 

We all hope that serious discussions such as this one will be 
repeated in the months ahead. The attention being given to 
the problem shows that there is a mounting determination to 
solve it. This flows from our deep-seated belief that the fate of 
America, the capitalistic system, and the happiness of our 
people are tied to the future of education. Let it be strong and 
rich and great in its capacities. Then we will have nothing to 
fear from any quarter. 

A Lifetime of Learning 

Francis H. Horn 

Senator Fulbright complained that engineers and businessmen, 
doctors and lawyers, "do not talk up and down and across the 
whole range of human experience, stimulating and stimulated by 
that experience, to perfect the spirit of their age in the light of the 
spirit of all ages. ..." 

We do wrong to suggest that any educational system can in 
four, or ten times four, years, produce the kind of person Mr. 
Fulbright wants. It is the acceptance, however, of this sanguine 
view of liberal education that lies behind the almost pathetic pleas 
of corporation executives for liberally educated college graduates. 
Part of the trouble springs from their impatience with the lack of 
ability of college graduates in the area of written and spoken com- 
munications. But their great need is for "potential top-manage- 
ment personnel." What industry wants most desperately today is 
bright college graduates who will quickly become executive vice 
presidents and advance the corporation's position vis a vis its com- 
petitors. The corporations are looking to the colleges for such 
paragons of virtue and ability that the colleges are making a huge 
mistake in not saying to industry that they cannot turn out such 
graduates. What industry wants is individuals who possess "the 
imaginative comprehension which comes from understanding the 
whole condition of man" — to quote one prominent industrialist. 
Or, to quote another, "men who understand the whole sweep of 
modern economic, political, and social life." Where is the indi- 
vidual, within or without the university, who could claim such 
knowledge? Yet this is the type of graduate which industry expects 
from the liberal arts colleges 

It is time for educators and laymen alike to stop speaking about 
a liberal education's being acquired in a college course of 120 
weeks duration. A truly liberal education is the product of a life- 

time of learning, study, reflection. Even then few people attain it. 
The best the college can do is to lay the foundation for a liberal 
education, to inculcate the habits of mind, breadth of interest, and 
enlargement of spirit, which, when continued and enriched dur- 
ing the later years, can result in a true liberal education. 

— liberal education reexamined, (reprinted from 
The Harvard Educational Review, Vol. XXVI, No. 4, Fall 1956). 


Bell Telephone's 
Experiment in Education 


On June 23, 1954, thirty-one children and their parents were 
enjoying themselves at a picnic on the lawn in front of an old 
colonial farmhouse in Media, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Phila- 
delphia. Many of the children were a long way from home: 
Melinda and Gayleen Woodruff lived in Palo Alto, California; 
Sally, Sue, and Cindy Hoverstock came from Houston, Texas; 
and Judy and Dick Asel had just driven up from Little Rock, 
Arkansas. They would all be driving home across America the 
next day. These children had come to visit their fathers, a 
carefully chosen group of businessmen from the Bell Tele- 
phone System, who were celebrating their completion of a 
novel experiment at the University of Pennsylvania. These 
young executives were, perhaps more than they knew, pioneers. 

Many leaders in American business have been frankly wor- 
ried about the supply of broadly educated executives for top 
management positions. Talented and conscientious young men 
who are now climbing the large corporation ladders too often 
exhibit the "trained incapacity" of the narrow expert, and for 
understandable reasons: many of them are recruited from 
business and engineering schools rather than liberal-arts col- 
leges. Moreover, the pressure of their jobs narrows rather than 
expands their interests in the world about them. 

The Bell system, with more than 700,000 employees, is the 
biggest industrial organization in America. To keep its tre- 
mendous daily traffic of calls, installations, and services hum- 
ming requires, of course, a vast army of technically trained 


specialists. But there is nothing static about this business and 
at the policy levels executives are continually forced to solve 
new problems and find fresh answers to old ones. For some 
time the Bell system's top management has been worried about 
over-specialization among its younger executives, the very 
men who are ultimately going to have to be the system's 

W. D. Gillen, President of the Bell Telephone Company 
of Pennsylvania and a trustee of The University of Pennsyl- 
vania, determined several years ago to find some way of 
broadening the educational background and expanding the 
point of view of Bell's most promising young men. In 1952 he 
discussed with the representatives of the University of Penn- 
sylvania a new kind of education for executive leadership — 
together they decided that in contrast to the usual executive 
training program, young executives needed a really firm ground- 
ing in the humanities or liberal arts. A well trained man 
knows how to answer questions, they reasoned; an educated 
man knows what questions are worth asking. At the policy 
level, Bell wants more of the latter. 

Mr. Gillen took the plan to several other presidents of Bell 
companies and got their support. In the spring of 1953, as a 
consequence, the Institute of Humanistic Studies for Execu- 
tives, sponsored by Pennsylvania Bell, came into existence on 
the campus of the University. Classrooms and administrative 
space were assigned, and Dr. Morse Peckham, an associate 
professor of English who had outlined a liberal-arts course for 
businessmen the previous autumn, took on the job of director. 

The first group of Bell executives arrived the following 
September and, as a member of the faculty assigned to keep 
close tabs on the experiment, I got to know them and their 
problems well. There were seventeen of them, a carefully 
chosen lot from various sections of the country. But they were 


all from the middle levels of management. Eleven were be- 
tween thirty-five and forty years of age, three were in their 
early thirties, and one was forty-eight; their average length of 
service with the Bell system was thirteen years; all were mar- 
ried and all, save one, were fathers; fifteen were college grad- 
uates, nine had B.S. degrees and six had B.A.'s. 

Each of them was granted a ten-months' leave of absence 
with full salary from his regular job in order to devote his full 
time to the Institute. The first nine months of the program 
included 550 hours of lectures, discussions, and seminars. The 
final four weeks of the program were set aside for a reading 
period during which the men were entirely on their own. 

To jar the businessmen-students out of the job atmosphere 
from which they had come, the courses were deliberately 
arranged so as to proceed from unfamiliar ideas and material 
to those closer to their own lives and experiences. In the early 
months of the program the men received a highly concen- 
trated dose of systematic logic, the study of Oriental history 
and art, and the reading of such works as the Bhagavad Gita; 
Monkey and the Tale of Genji — a far cry from the American 
suburban groove and business routine. By December many of 
the students were depressed — the "Bagdad Geisha," they felt, 
was a waste of time. 

On the other hand, as the end of the program approached, 
the men were prepared to bring a wide-ranging intellectual 
experience to bear on problems much closer to home. In the 
final and most popular course, American Civilization, they 
spent twelve weeks discussing such problems as: the making 
of the Constitution; the Hay market Riot and the industriali- 
zation of America; Sister Carrie and the revolution in Amer- 
ican sex mores; Main Street and the disillusionment of the 
1920's; and The Lonely Crowd and American character struc- 
ture. The course was organized on the theory that one ap- 


proached Carol Kennicott's struggles with Main Street from 
a broader point of view for having known something about 
Prince Genji in tenth-century Japan. 

Through James Joyce's Ulysses 

The study of James Joyce's Ulysses was the most contro- 
versial part of the curriculum. It was the director's pet idea, 
and he fought for it. To him it symbolized the function of a 
liberal-arts education — to provide a liberating experience and 
to stimulate the intellect. He believed that an intensive anal- 
ysis of Bloom's day in Dublin, June 16, 1904, would do just 
that. (One of the students sent postcards to the other partici- 
pants on June 16, 1954. On the card was written: "Happy 
Bloom's Day.") 

The Ulysses course consisted of eight three-hour seminars 
for each of two groups of students. Fortified with the extensive 
"pony" literature on Joyce, dictionaries of mythology, ency- 
clopedias, and Webster, each man prepared one or more 
reports for his seminar group. 

They found it a challenging, and often exasperating, expe- 
rience. At the close of each report, there was a sigh of relief 
from the man who had to report, and a wave of congratula- 
tions from the rest of the students: "I was proud of Gene! I 
never got half the stuff he saw in the chapter when I read it." 
And neither had anyone else, on even a careful first reading. 

The final report in one of the Ulysses seminars suggests the 
tone of the whole program. The man who gave it was an 
accountant and, incidentally, a musician who had earned his 
way through college during the Depression by playing in 
dance bands. Patently cool toward the works of Mr. Joyce, he 
finally volunteered to report on Chapter XI, the "Sirens" 
section, in which Bloom's extreme loneliness is portrayed in a 
highly complicated and technical musical theme. His report 


took just forty- two hours to prepare. "You know, this man 
Joyce has something for everybody if he looks hard enough. I 

really got interested in that chapter." The report was so 

thorough that the instructor had it mimeographed for dis- 
tribution to the whole seminar group and for the use of his 
future graduate students. 

The Institute courses were taught by several members of 
the faculty from the University, supplemented by two profes- 
sors from Bryn Mawr and Swarthmore Colleges. In addition, 
to make sure the students came in contact with the best in the 
intellectual world, each instructor was asked to invite a series 
of guest lecturers. One hundred and sixty of America's leading 
intellectuals — including Lewis Mumford, Clyde Kluckhohn, 
W. H. Auden, Jaques Lipchitz, Delmore Schwartz, Henry S. 
Commager, Virgil Thomson, Ludwig Lewisohn, David Ries- 
man, and Eric Goldman — visitedWest Philadelphia last winter. 

The guest lecturers were interested both in the nature of 
the experiment and in the men who were participating in it. 
In a club room rented in a hotel near the University they had 
a chance to meet the students at the cocktail hour for informal 
discussion. "You mean," one of them said to me, "that this 
idea came from the Bell Telephone people!" Public relations 
cut both ways in these meetings. The distinguished visitors 
became acquainted with and, above all, were appreciated by 
the students. 

For ten months the seventeen Bell men were kept busy. In 
addition to the regular classwork, they read constantly (more 
than the average graduate student); they went on formally 
planned trips to art galleries, museums, and historical sights 
in Washington, New York, and Philadelphia; a block of seats 
was reserved for them at the Philadelphia orchestra; and they 
visited and studied in some of the distinguished examples of 
residential and institutional architecture in the city. 


All of the men seemed determined to make the most of the 
experience. Not only did they want to justify the costs of the 
program to the Bell system, but they seemed to want to make 
up for what they had missed in their formal education. "Col- 
lege wasn't like this, or at least I never found it so," some of 
them said, and one graduate engineer told me: "It was the 
degree as a ticket to a job, not an education, that we were 
after in those Depression days." 

Aspirin After Poetry 

In Utopia, perhaps, men will be "trained" in their teens 
and "educated" in their thirties. While twenty may be the 
best age for learning mathematics, chemistry, or engineering, 
maybe Hamlet or Faust are better understood in maturity. To 
these students, a discussion of pragmatism was naturally re- 
lated to their own anxieties about permissive education (one 
father, trained in a teachers' college, disciplined his child 
without feeling guilty about it for the first time during this 
period) ; Babbitt or C. Wright Mills' White Collar suggested dis- 
turbing insights into their own lives; and these men who had 
lived through the Depression knew what Walt Whitman was 
giving up when he left a well-paying editorship to devote his life 
to poetry, even if they could not quite understand his motives. 

A real education is an emotional as well as an intellectual 
experience; and there were both pleasant and unpleasant ex- 
periences in this first year's experiment. Few of these students, 
for example, will ever forget the lecture on Leonardo da Vinci 
in the art class or the reading of Ezra Pound's Pisan Cantos. 

One morning in May a student described the slide-illus- 
trated lecture on Leonardo to me over a cup of coffee at Horn 
and Hardart's restaurant. When the class was over, so his 
story went, the lights were turned on and the instructor walked 
out of the room with tears in his eyes; after several minutes of 


silence, the students filed out behind him. The eyes of this tall 
Lincolnesque executive, a Lieutenant Commander, USNR, 
who had seen the bomb damage at Nagasaki, were somewhat 
moist that morning as he described the lecture on Leonardo. 

The poetry of Ezra Pound is still a controversial artistic 
fact. Whereas many young graduate students follow fashion, 
and either like Pound or not as the intellectual climate de- 
mands, his Pisan Cantos were an unpleasant emotional issue 
at the Institute. On a Wednesday evening in February, dur- 
ing a heated and somewhat tense discussion of Mr. Pound's 
poetry with a visiting expert from Harvard, there was very 
little sympathy for either the guest's admiration for the Pisan 
Cantos or his friendship for Mr. Pound. Driving home after the 
discussion, one of the students said: "You know I was so upset 
reading Pound last Monday night that I took two aspirins 
before going to bed and then got up at two in the morning to 
take a sedative before finally getting off to sleep. I could not, 
for the life of me, understand what the man was trying to say 
in those Cantos." 

"This is my one big opportunity," one of the men said to 
me after he had been in the course for several months, "and I 
mean to make the most of it." This sense of cramming into a 
short ten months what might have been for many men several 
years of education raised several questions. Were these men 
interested primarily in doing a good job in the Institute be- 
cause it might mean later promotions in the Bell system for 
them? Having been exposed to an experience that would pre- 
sumably change their attitudes toward their jobs and their 
leisure, was there a chance that they would never again be 
satisfied with the struggle up the corporate ladder? These 
were questions that those of us on the faculty asked ourselves, 
and some of the answers became apparent during the course 
of the year. Others will remain unanswered for some time. 


The Lasting Effects 

The Institute of Humanistic Studies for Executives, we 
were confident, introduced seventeen men of affairs to a new 
world of ideas, new values, new interests, and to a new type of 
personality, the intellectual; and the men of affairs changed 
considerably. They have taken to buying books and building 
their own libraries; they are collecting classical records; they 
think about replacing "wall-cover" with art in their homes; 
and they are more aware of the architectural cliches in Amer- 
ican suburbs. One of them said to me: 

"When my brother-in-law recently gave his daughter a 
red Buick convertible for a graduation present, my wife and 
I thought how a trip abroad would have been a much more 
lasting gift. A year ago we would have taken the convertible 
for granted." 

As the course was drawing to its close each of its members 
was asked to fill out an anonymous questionnaire in which he 
was to give his opinion of the course and the effect it had on 
him. A number of revealing, if not surprising, changes in 
attitude came to light. Reading habits, for one thing, had 
changed. "I'm taking more advantage of library facilities, 
reading two newspapers, and reviewing several good news 
magazines," one man said. Another reported, "I approach 
newspapers and periodicals with much more curiosity and 
speculation than before; politics make more sense; the art sec- 
tion in Time is not only readable but interesting; I read the 
book review section in the New York Times; questions con- 
cerning McCarthyism are thought through with some real 
attention to ultimate questions." 

But perhaps more revealing comments were made by the 
men at a dinner held last May in a private dining room at the 
Philadelphia Racquet Club where Cleo Craig, the president 
of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, was 


the guest of honor. After the entree Craig asked each of the 
men to summarize briefly what he had gotten out of the 
course. It was evident that the men had primarily learned 
something about themselves. 

"When I first went to work for Bell during the Depression, 
I spent twelve to fourteen months collecting coin boxes," one 
of them said. "From that time on, I worked all the time and 
sacrificed everything to get ahead. Now things are different. I 
still want to get along in the company but I now realize that 
I owe something to myself, my family, and my community." 

A second man said, "This course has given me a new in- 
terest in my status and my inheritance, and a mode of deter- 
mining what they are." Another was, "less content with per- 
sonal values than before," and went on to say that the course 
had "stimulated a creeping discontent and loss of compla- 
cency." Finally, one of them summed up his feelings about 
the program as follows: "Before this course, I was like a straw 
floating with the current down the stream. The stream was 
the Bell Telephone Company. I don't think I will ever be like 
that straw again." 

The men all went back to their jobs in July. Almost six 
months later, during Christmas week, I talked with seven of 
them and had long letters from three others. Although the 
effects of such an educational program as this one cannot be 
measured with any precision, some interesting effects that it 
has had on the men are already apparent. 

In the first place, it must be remembered they were chosen 
because of their demonstrated abilities and strong drives to- 
wards success in the Bell system. They are, they report, glad 
to be "in harness" again, and on the whole they have found 
the transition back to their jobs much easier than getting 
used to the program of the Institute. One theme runs through 
their comments on the effects of the program: they have con- 


siderably more confidence in themselves, which, in turn, has 
"created an even stronger desire for more and broader re- 
sponsibility in the business." 

This self-confidence has resulted, they feel, in a greater 
ability to make decisions: "I think the chief benefit from the 
program is a kind of emotional detachment. I don't feel the 
same personal involvement and emotional insecurity about 
business problems. This increase in objectivity adds to my 
confidence in taking the risk of decision. I get more sleep now 
too!" To find this confidence born of objectivity is all the 
more gratifying to those of us at the Institute because several 
of us visualized the successful business executive as someone 
who "flew by the seat of his pants," as the saying goes, and 
possessed some kind of intuitive "feel" for the right decision. 
Well aware of the archetypical intellectual's difficulty in arriv- 
ing at decisions because of a tendency to see all sides of every 
question, we were afraid that the Institute's program might 
educate this intuitive feel out of these promising young men. 
The following comment seems to me a wise refutation of 
these fears: 

"I have been much more efficient in organizing the rele- 
vant facts and placing alternative courses of action in sharp 
focus. Although I now see more angles and am less sure that 
any particular decision is the right one, I am aided in making 
it by the realization that there is probably no one right solution 
to many problems. I am now much less upset, and more able 
to learn, by mistakes." Another man says of his new sense of 
perspective and objectivity: "This may sound contradictory, 
but I find myself to be much more critical than before and, at 
the same time, much more tolerant." 

This confidence and assurance evidently has not been 
limited to their life in business. One man in a large Midwestern 
city, for example, talked about the Institute to a social club 


composed of professional people interested in the arts and 
literature: he was extremely gratified both by their response 
to his talk and because he got along with them so well in infor- 
mal conversation afterwards. 

These young men of affairs have not become intellectuals. 
They are not bringing bookish ideas from the program into 
their business and community life: rather, they have devel- 
oped into sympathetic and informed listeners, or catalysts in 
drawing out other people's interests. As one writes: "A par- 
ticularly well-read person in the company who used to interest 
me very little has become a fast friend of mine and is fostering 
my continued interest in ideas unwittingly. I of course do 
most of the listening." 

Intellectual Know-How 

What Americans proudly call "know-how" has produced 
many things: great corporations, great bombs, and a great 
many automobiles and refrigerators. In the Institute of Hu- 
manistic Studies for Executives, however, Bell's high man- 
agers are seeking to remedy a weakness in American democ- 
racy which Tocqueville discerned over one hundred years ago: 
"It would seem as if the rulers of our time," he said, "sought 
only to use men in order to make things great; I wish they 
would try a little more to make great men; that they set less 
value on the work, and more value upon the workman." 

From the point of view of the Bell system, it is far too early 
to assess the value of their experiment. But it is perhaps sig- 
nificant that the wives, at the picnic celebrating the comple- 
tion of the program, provided a large cake with one candle 
and this inscription: 

With Love and Kisses to 

"The Humans" 

Class of 1954. 


Why Should a Company 
Spend Money in This Way? 

Wilfred D. Gillen 

Less than five years ago an idea was conceived that has developed 
into one of the most exciting and stimulating experiences that 
could happen to a business man or to a business institution. I refer 
to the experiment which is a new approach to the problem of 
developing future managers for a corporation, known by the high- 
sounding title of "The Institute of Humanistic Studies for Execu- 
tives at the University of Pennsylvania." (That title was selected 
by a member of the faculty, not by us) ... . 

A question often asked is, "Why should a company spend money 
in this way? Won't an ambitious young man think of these things 
and get the same information on his own?" Reflection, I think, 
will indicate that this approach is not practical. Granted that a 
few exceptional individuals with perhaps a liberal arts education 
might have the time, stamina and ability to do the necessary read- 
ing and to take an interest in the cultural life of the community, 
still this will not meet the objectives. We are not looking for areas 
of learning, nor are we seeking to turn business men into connois- 
seurs of the arts. Rather, we are giving them a chance to find 
themselves and their places in society by means of a sabbatical 
leave; to try out their own ideas through reading and discussion 
with others; and to study under a guided program designed for 
their needs — of which they may not even be aware. Clearly, it 
would be impossible for an individual to do this on his own. 

We believe . . . that a man must have lived in the world and 
must have become more mature before he can absorb and appre- 
ciate the value of the humanities and be able to profit from them. 
This is really an experiment in adult education. A few results, 
however, are known, and I summarize them: 

i. There was tremendous enthusiasm on the part of each year's 
participants. They tell us they have increased personal iden- 


tity and self-realization. In other words, this means that the 
men know where they are going and why and they also 
know why they have chosen the path they have. 

2. The changes in the men were apparent to those watching 
them. They have greater intellectual curiosity and self-con- 
fidence and are better able to express their ideas. 

3. They tell us it has made them better family men, better citi- 
zens in their communities, and better individuals. 

If this is true, and we have sufficient evidence to believe it is, 
won't they be better telephone men? . . . 

If any justification were needed, and I personally don't think 
it is, for a business to spend its money and manpower on experi- 
ments of this nature, I would remind you that most corporations 
today are spending vast sums in technical research. New multi- 
million-dollar laboratories have been and are being built through- 
out our country — all vital and necessary for the growth and prog- 
ress of our industrial civilization. But I submit to you that regard- 
less of how much progress we make in science and technology, we 
will need broad-gauged men at the helm of management to har- 
ness and effectively use these products for the good of society. 
Therefore, I answer the question with this question: don't we have 
the responsibility of trying to train the next generation to cope 
with the complex problems of the future? 

We believe that this is a major responsibility of corporate man- 
agement today. We are, as I have stressed, trying to make a con- 
structive contribution to meeting what we think is currently the 
most important problem facing the corporate future. . . . 


The Fund for Adult Education, 1956. 


The Big Job of the Moment 

Frank W. Abrams 

Underlying all the problems that today challenge us as business- 
men, educators, legislators, or plain citizens, there is, in my opinion, 
an over-all challenge or goal — the importance of education to the 
future of our country and the world through its influence on the 
behavior of people. 

No matter what plans we make, the ultimate test of education 
is not whether it has succeeded in helping business and industry 
but whether it has helped to develop better, more rational hu- 
man beings. 

An educational system that turns out, for example, large num- 
bers of highly trained engineers without teaching them how to 
reason and come to logical conclusions on personal, community, 
national, and world problems; toleration of the rights of others in 
the working out of the particular problems; and the acceptance of 
the outcome of a logical conclusion is not education but training. 
And training is but one aspect — and not the most important one, 
either — of education. For mere training — even excellent training 
— does not produce a full man; it may even produce little more 
than a mechanical, unthinking man. In fact, training without 
enlightenment may well lead to the type of push-button education 
characteristic of the large numbers of engineers we hear so much 
about these days that Russia is turning out. 

A free, democratic nation, such as ours, with an educational 
system controlled by its citizens and not by the state, has the moral 
and practical obligation to the welfare of its people and the stability 
of its form of government to educate as well as to train. 

The educational process that stimulates the ability to reason 
and project ahead in an orderly fashion the products or conclu- 
sions of logical reasoning, can, if accomplished in time, have a bene- 
ficial influence on many of our local, national, and global problems. 

The great problems that exist today, such as, among others, 
excessive population growth, racial discrimination, juvenile delin- 


quency, loss of individual initiative and the encroachment of gov- 
ernment on the private individual, will not be solved by the train- 
ing of a thousand, or even hundreds of thousands more engineers 
and scientists. Unless these men and women, together with others 
enrolled in our institutions of higher learning, and those thai we 
can influence to continue their education past high school — are 
given the incentive to learn to think problems through in a logical, 
tolerant manner, and are willing to accept the conclusions of their 
thinking, these problems may be left unsolved. 

And if this should happen, it may well precipitate action by a 
centralized authority such as the so-called "super state." It is our 
job to do what we can to prevent this from happening. But pre- 
vention is not enough. We must have a positive and constructive 
attitude toward our nation's problems, belief in its ideals, and faith 
in its people. And we must formulate our educational programs 
with this in mind. This, it seems to me, is the big job of the moment 
for businessmen, for educators, for all of us. 


a speech before the President's Committee for Education Beyond 
High School at New York University, New York, April 30, 1957. 


When Is Education Liberal? 


A man is free, or he enjoys liberty, in the proportion to which 
his life is governed by his own choice. Freedom is not doing as 
one pleases, but doing as one chooses. And choice itself is a mat- 
ter of degree; for it may be wide or narrow, deep or shallow. 
Choice is narrowed by ignorance, habit, or obsession; it is 
broadened by knowledge, spontaneity, and reflection. Choice 
is also confined by circumstances beyond its control. Choice is 
vain, or is mere idle wishing, when the chosen is impossible; 
choice is real or effective when its means lie within its reach. 
The greater part of human knowledge serves the purpose of 
making choices effective, whatever they may be. It provides 
men with tools, and extends their control of circumstances. 
Technology and organized industry reduce man's dependence 
on his physical environment; the social arts reduce his depen- 
dence on his social environment. Through these agencies cir- 
cumstance becomes more plastic to the will; man becomes to 
a diminishing extent the victim of circumstance, whether the 
hostile and indifferent forces of nature, or his own tyrannies 
of social custom and authority. 

There remains, however, another and a more profound re- 
quirement of freedom — that is, of the fullest freedom. Free- 
dom may vary in amplitude — in depth, breadth, and range. 
A man is lacking in freedom in proportion as he is bound by 
commitments which he has not freely chosen; or he merely 
chooses means to ends already unconsciously adopted or im- 
posed upon him from beyond himself. A man is lacking in 


freedom in proportion as his horizon is bounded narrowly. 
And it is here that liberal education enters the situation. 

Education is liberal in so far as it invites and qualifies men 
to choose deeply and fundamentally, to choose ends as well 
as means, to choose remote as well as immediate ends, to 
choose from many rather than from few possibilities. Liberal 
education, so construed, makes successive generations of men 
aware of the widest range of possibilities by the discovery of 
new possibilities, and by reminding of old possibilities for- 
gotten. It does so in order that men may choose with the ut- 
most amplitude of freedom — in order that their lives may be 
filled to the maximum extent by what they thoughtfully and 
wittingly choose them to be 

Light is thrown on the meaning of liberal education by 
naming some of its opposite illiberalities. Liberal education is 
opposed to a strictly or merely vocational education, or what 
is better called occupational education, because an occupa- 
tion, once adopted, narrows the choices that remain open; as 
a man having adopted the occupation of a physician may 
then choose only where and how he shall practice. The occu- 
pation itself may be imposed by circumstance and livelihood. 
The physician is then said to have "no alternative" but to 
practice medicine, or to have "no choice" in the matter. Or 
the individual, taking into account his capacities and environ- 
ment, may choose to be a physician, rather than a lawyer, 
businessman, or artist. His education is then said to be liberal 
in so far as it acquaints him with these options, and opens the 
door to them all. Liberal education in this sense properly 
comes at that period in the individual's life when he has not 
yet committed himself— at the parting of the ways, like the 
period when a man is choosing his life partner before he has 
bound himself, for better or for worse, to any one. He who 
chooses his occupation freely, that is, with a comparative 


awareness and understanding of the possibilities, may then 
remain free; for if he has no regrets, all the narrower choices 
to which he is subsequently restricted partake of the freedom 
of his original and fundamental choice. 

Liberal education is opposed to dogmatic education where 
dogmatic education means the imparting of beliefs without 
their evidence. In so far as the individual is dogmatically edu- 
cated his mind submits passively to authority — he takes some- 
one else's word — and does not choose his conclusions by prov- 
ing their truth for himself. His mind is made up for him rather 
than by him. 

Merely informative education, which imparts a knowl- 
edge of facts, is less liberal than the theoretical education 
which imparts a knowledge of principles; because he who 
grasps the principles can then apply and extend them for 
himself. He is prepared not only for this or that particular 
actuality but for the infinitude of possibles that are subsum- 
able under general ideas. The grasp of principles creates 

Specialized knowledge is comparatively illiberal because 
it limits the movement of the mind, and excludes the alterna- 
tive interpretations of any subject or situation which might be 
made in the light of a broader context. It also habituates the 
mind to some specific technique, and so unfits it for dealing 
with more than one subject matter 

The values which in their sum are comprised within the 
idea of liberality may be conveyed by any subject matter or 
educational agency. ... It will not do, therefore ? to say that a 
professional school is necessarily illiberal because it teaches 
law or medicine; or because its students are acquiring a spe- 
cial form of expertness for which they expect to be paid, or 
even because its students are already largely committed to the 
career. It is quite possible that a law school or medical school 


should be liberal, and so-called "liberal arts college" be 
illiberal. . . . 

Within the sphere of law a lawyer may choose the branch 
of law in which he specializes. He may take the law as it is, set 
down in statutes or in precedents, and merely choose from 
among its applications to the given situation in which he is 
called upon for advice; or he may re-examine the law's extra- 
legal premises, and find reasons why the law is as it is; or he 
may become a legal reformer. In his legal practice he may be 
a mere technician, operating on a narrow front; or he may 
participate in "high policy," and raise his life to the level of 
strategy and statesmanship. In so far as his legal education 
has enlarged his outlook, extended the range of possible action, 
led him back to first principles, taught him how to weigh alter- 
natives, multiplied the means to ends, and the ends which 
are open to his adoption or rejection, his may be said to have 
been a liberal education; and his profession may be said to be 
a liberal profession. 

There is no occupational or professional education, whether 
or not it is called a liberal or learned profession, of which the 
same may not be said. Education for business is liberal in so 
far as it teaches a man to choose business for what it is, under- 
standing the role of business in society at large, and in so far 
as it reveals the underlying principles on which business prac- 
tice is founded, and enables the business student or business- 
man to be inventive and creative and not a mere cog in the 
existing mechanism. Even manual labor partakes of liberality 
at the moment when a man chooses to work with his hands; 
or when it becomes a skilled craft requiring taste and inven- 
tion; or when it is attended with a sense of cooperation and 
social utility. 

As the professional or vocational school may be liberal, so 
the so-called liberal arts college may be illiberal, and will be 


illiberal in so far as it is pervaded with a narrow sectarian 
bias, or employs methods of mass appeal, or reduces study to 
the level of drudgery and routine, or otherwise fails to awaken 
the independent mind and exercise the student in the art of 
reflective and imaginative choice. . . . 

But while there is no subject, by whatever name it is 
called, that is automatically liberating, there are nevertheless 
certain studies which, owing to their subject matter, their 
tradition, and the habits and attitudes of those who teach 
them, are peculiarly apt to be liberating. These, not without 
reason, are commonly classified as the liberal studies, par ex- 
cellence: literature and the fine arts, history, religion, and 

If it is asked why these studies are liberating, the reason is 
that they stimulate the imagination, create perspective and 
breadth of outlook, and thus call into play the faculty of 
choice. The imagination is the freest of all human faculties. 
Everything experienced, asserted, proved, or done can be 
imagined otherwise. Imagination is the faculty for entertaining 
possibilities, as yet unrestricted even by the requirements of 
truth or utility. It is the play of the mind unhampered by 
either theory or practice. Literature and the fine arts place no 
restriction on ideas save that they shall be enjoyed in con- 
templation. Within their wide boundaries they encourage 
taste, that is, free preference of the best. History frees the 
mind from bondage to the present and unfolds the wide 
panorama of civilization in all its ages and types. At the same 
time it exhibits man's varying fortunes, his successes and fail- 
ures, and enables him to profit thereby in his choices for the 
future. Religion should be, although it rarely is, a man's cul- 
minating freedom. In his religion he extends his mind to the 
whole of existence, and to the whole scale of existence, and to 
the whole scale of values, and establishes an equation between 


them. The great religious visions present man with ultimate 
ideals which invite his free adoption. 

Philosophy is pledged to transcend every provincialism, 
of time and space and point of view; and in its special concern 
with values and their hierarchies assists the mind in ordering 
its choices. In so far as philosophy is true to its original intent 
it is speculative; that is, it questions assumptions, breaks habits, 
accepts no "is" without wondering what "it might be," views 
existence in the context of possibility. "Philosophy," said 
William James, "is able to fancy everything different from 
what it is. It sees the familiar as if it were strange, and the 
strange as if it were familiar. It can take things up and lay 
them down again. Its mind is full of air that plays round every 
subject. It rouses us from dogmatic slumber and breaks up 
our caked prejudices." 

Literature, fine arts, history, religion, and philosophy — 
these are the studies which, though they always can be de- 
based to agencies of enslavement, have, as human inquiry is 
now divided, the largest liberalizing potentiality. 

There is, on the other hand, no subject of study whatso- 
ever that may not be illiberally taught or illiberally studied. 
It should not be forgotten that what is called "pedantry" was 
invented in those studies which are commonly classified as 
liberal. Pedantry is doubly illiberal, in being both deadening 
to the spirit and useless. 

Liberal studies are sometimes given the name of the 
"humanities" — a term which is so encrusted with historical 
and emotional deposits that if it is to clarify the meaning of 
liberal education, it must be used very guardedly. All parties 
are agreed, however, that "humanities" has something to do 
with man — not man in particular but man in general, the 
MAN in men. 

Hence education is humanistic when it invites the atten- 


tion of different individuals or groups to their common hu- 
manity — their common lot within one universe or their com- 
mon role as citizens of one state and as members of one uni- 
versal society. Humanistic studies will be fit for all men, and 
will lie upon a level prior to those differences of circumstance, 
interest, aptitude, and skill by which men take their several 
places in the social division of labor. Humanistic studies, or 
studies in so far as they are humane, are good for everybody, 
and may be said to consist of those studies by which men are 
made men, in advance of being men of any particular kind. 
Humanistic education so conceived is liberalizing because 
directly or indirectly it embraces every human possibility. 


The Aims of Education 

Alfred North Whitehead 

In the modern complex social organism, the adventure of life 
cannot be disjoined from intellectual adventure. Amid simpler cir- 
cumstances, the pioneer can follow the urge of his instinct, directed 
toward the scene of his vision from the mountain top. But in the 
complex organisations of modern business the intellectual adven- 
ture of analysis, and of imaginative reconstruction, must precede 
any successful reorganisation. In a simpler world, business rela- 
tions were simpler, being based on the immediate contact of man 
with man and on immediate confrontation with all relevant ma- 
terial circumstances. Today business organisation requires an im- 
aginative grasp of the psychologies of populations engaged in dif- 
fering modes of occupation; of populations scattered through cities, 
through mountains, through plains; of populations on the ocean, 
and of populations in mines, and of populations in forests. It re- 
quires an imaginative grasp of conditions in the tropics, and of 
conditions in temperate zones. It requires an imaginative grasp of 
the interlocking interests of great organisations, and of the reac- 
tions of the whole complex to any change in one of its elements. It 
requires an imaginative understanding of laws of political econ- 
omy, not merely in the abstract, but also with the power to con- 
strue them in terms of the particular circumstances of a concrete 
business. It requires some knowledge of the habits of government, 
and of the variations of those habits under diverse conditions. It 
requires an imaginative vision of the binding forces of any human 
organisation, a sympathetic vision of the limits of human nature 
and of the conditions which evoke loyalty of service. It requires 
some knowledge of the laws of health, and of the laws of fatigue, 
and of the conditions for sustained reliability. It requires an imag- 
inative understanding of the social effects of the conditions of fac- 
tories. It requires a sufficient conception of the role of applied 
science in modern society. It requires that discipline of character 
which can say "yes" and "no" to other men, not by reason of 


blind obstinacy, but with firmness derived from a conscious eval- 
uation of relevant alternatives. 

Another great fact confronting the modern world is the dis- 
covery of the method of training professionals, who specialise in 
particular regions of thought and thereby progressively add to the 
sum of knowledge within their respective limitations of subject. In 
consequence of the success of this professionalising of knowledge, 
there are two points to be kept in mind, which differentiate our 
present age from the past. In the first place, the rate of progress is 
such that an individual human being, of ordinary length of life, 
will be called upon to face novel situations which find no parallel 
in his past. The fixed person for the fixed duties, who in older 
societies was such a godsend, in the future will be a public danger. 
In the second place, the modern professionalism in knowledge 
works in the opposite direction so far as the intellectual sphere is 
concerned. The modern chemist is likely to be weak in zoology, 
weaker still in his general knowledge of the Elizabethan drama, 
and completely ignorant of the principles of rhythm in English 
versification. It is probably safe to ignore his knowledge of ancient 
history. Of course I am speaking of general tendencies; for chem- 
ists are no worse than engineers, or mathematicians, or classical 
scholars. Effective knowledge is professionalised knowledge, sup- 
ported by a restricted acquaintance with useful subjects sub- 
servient to it. 

This situation has its dangers. It produces minds in a groove. 
Each profession makes progress, but it is progress in its own groove. 
Now to be mentally in a groove is to live in contemplating a given 
set of abstractions. The groove prevents straying across country, 
and the abstraction abstracts from something to which no further 
attention is paid. But there is no groove of abstractions which is 
adequate for the comprehension of human life. Thus in the mod- 
ern world, the celibacy of the medieval learned class has been 
replaced by a celibacy of the intellect which is divorced from the 
concrete contemplation of the complete facts. Of course, no one is 
merely a mathematician, or merely a lawyer. People have lives 
outside their professions or their businesses. But the point is the 
restraint of serious thought within a groove. The remainder of life 


is treated superficially, with the imperfect categories of thought 
derived from one profession. 

The dangers arising from this aspect of professionalism are 
great, particularly in our democratic societies. The directive force 
of reason is weakened. The leading intellects lack balance. They 
see this set of circumstances, or that set; but not both sets together. 
The task of coordination is left to those who lack either the force or 
the character to succeed in some definite career. In short, the spe- 
cialised functions of the community are performed better and 
more progressively, but the generalised direction lacks vision. The 
progressiveness in detail only adds to the danger produced by the 
feebleness of coordination. 

This criticism of modern life applies throughout, in whatever 
sense you construe the meaning of a community. It holds if you 
apply it to a nation, a city, a district, an institution, a family, or 
even to an individual. There is a development of particular abstrac- 
tions, and a contraction of concrete appreciation. The whole is 
lost in one of its aspects. It is not necessary for my point that I 
should maintain that our directive wisdom, either as individuals 
or as communities, is less now than in the past. Perhaps it has 
slightly improved. But the novel pace of progress requires a greater 
force of direction if disasters are to be avoided. The point is that 
the discoveries of the nineteenth century were in the direction of 
professionalism, so that we are left with no expansion of wisdom 
and with greater need of it. 

Wisdom is the fruit of a balanced development. It is this bal- 
anced growth of individuality which it should be the aim of edu- 
cation to secure. The most useful discoveries for the immediate 
future would concern the furtherance of this aim without detri- 
ment to the necessary intellectual professionalism. 


{MacMillan Company, New Tork, 1929). 

and science and the modern world: Lowell Lectures, 1925 

{MacMillan Company, New Tork, 1925). 


Liberal Arts as Training 
for Executives 


It is not hard to predict that the practice of management 
will be profoundly affected by the rapidly approaching forces 
of automation and statistical decision making. 

Any company with a decent regard for its survival must 
be trying to forecast the terms of those forces, for it must 
recruit and promote today the executives who will be run- 
ning the company tomorrow. Can we write the job descrip- 
tion for a vice president of X Manufacturing Company for 
1965, or 1975? What will he have to know? What new skills, 
what new sensitivities will he have to possess to deal success- 
fully with the new elements in management and (what is per- 
haps more important) the new combinations of old elements? 

There have been enough changes just since the end of 
World War II to make the job grow alarmingly. . . . 

Up to now most of the increased demands on management 
have been quantitative. An executive has had to know more 
about engineering, about accounting, about his industry, 
about the position of his company in the industry, about 
society and the world around him — all to the end of better 
control of masses of data and information, and better decision 
making on the basis of such material. 

Now we are faced with the fact that many of the quantita- 
tive aspects of the executive's job are going to recede into the 
innards of a computer. Thus, in one company, dozens of 
clerks used to work laborious days on their slide rules to pro- 
vide data for what were no more than calculated guesses, on 


top of which management built a whole pyramid of deliberate 
decisions. A computer can now take readings of the whole 
spectrum of data at any time desired, give the relevant figures 
their proper weights, and come up with production schedules, 
orders for materials, and financial budgets to ensure maximum 
efficiency of operation. 

Nevertheless, the executive is not likely to join the ranks of 
the technologically unemployed, just because he will have 
shucked off many of the problems on which he formerly exer- 
cised his executive judgment and "feel." It is inevitable that 
new problems will crowd in to take the place of the old ones. 
And, in other than quantitative judgments, a new standard 
of accuracy and precision will be called for to match the level 
of accuracy displayed by the computer. A small fable for 
executives was played out before millions on television at the 
1952 election, when the computer performed faultlessly on 
faulty data and came out blandly with answers that could 
have ruined a company if they had concerned a gamble on 
marketing or capital investment. 

In any event, the competitive edge acquired by one com- 
pany by acquisition of a computer will not last long in any 
industry. Sooner or later all companies will be returned to the 
equilibrium defined recently by Albert J. Nickerson, Vice 
President and Director of Foreign Trade, Socony- Vacuum 
Oil Company: 

"If one competitor has a material advantage today it — or a work- 
able counterpart — is likely soon to become common property. An 
enterprise must rely for survival and progress on the personal quali- 
fications of those who make up its ranks and direct its destinies." 1 

The first question a company must now begin to ask of its 
candidates for executive responsibility is: "What can you do 
that a computer can't?" 

1 "Climbing the Managerial Ladder," Saturday Review of Literature (No- 
vember 21, 1953), p. 38. 


In more and more companies, the decisive factor is going to 
be the breadth and depth of executive judgment. As vast areas 
of what used to be decision making become subject to mechan- 
ical computations which are all equally correct in all compa- 
nies, the edge will be won by the company whose executives do 
a better job of handling the qualitative factors which remain 
after the measurable factors have been taken out, and then of 
putting all the pieces together into a single, dynamic whole 

On one point all authorities have agreed. Narrow special- 
ization is not enough; this is already responsible for most of 
the inability of middle management executives to be con- 
sidered for promotion. John L. McCaffrey, President of In- 
ternational Harvester Company, puts it this way: 

"... the world of the specialist is a narrow one and it tends to pro- 
duce narrow human beings. The specialist usually does not see 
over-all effects on the business and so he tends to judge good and 
evil, right and wrong, by the sole standard of his own specialty. 

"This narrowness of view, this judgment of all events by the 
peculiar standards of his own specialty, is the curse of the specialist 
from the standpoint of top management consideration for advance- 
ment. Except in unusual cases, it tends to put a road-block ahead 
of him after he reaches a certain level." 2 

; Thus, there has been a growing call for "breadth" in edu- 
cational preparation for management, and a surprising degree 
I of agreement on the need for more liberal arts in colleges. . . . 
Viewed in these terms many subjects and disciplines can 
lay claim to a role in education for management. It is obvious 
that wider subject matter, more courses about more things in 
the contemporary world, will give the student more breadth. 
But it is also apparent that in a day when the executive 
will be able to dial the electronic reference library and get all 
the facts about all the subjects he wants, mere accretion of 
facts will not warrant his putting in the time to prepare merely 
to know more facts. The call is for more than "breadth" 
2 Fortune (September 1953), p. 129. 


alone; it is for the ability to move surely and with confidence 
on unfamiliar ground, to perceive central elements in situa- 
tions and see how their consequences fall into line in many 
dimensions. Tomorrow's executive must be able to move 
surely from policy to action in situations that will be different 
from anything any generation has experienced before. 

There have been developments in traditional educational 
disciplines within the liberal arts which, much to the surprise 
of those closest to them, will very likely turn out to be far more 
important to educational preparation for management than 
many of the flashy subjects that have seemingly been set up 
to serve business' needs exclusively. The study of the humanities 
— of literature, art, and philosophy, and of the critical terms 
that these disciplines use to assess the world — is startlingly 
more pertinent and practical than the "practical" vocational 

These disciplines have of course other axes to grind than 
preparing executives to fill job descriptions. They are elements 
in our civilization which give it life beyond any technologies 
or economic systems. The arts, education, and management 
all serve a higher purpose, and business will do society no 
good if it demands, as do some business leaders, that educa- 
tion serve business directly and solely. That would be the 
same as insisting that a corporation be restricted only to 
working capital and forbidden to raise long-term funds. 

But the very fact that the humanities serve a larger need 
than management training is one of the main reasons why 
they are so valuable for that purpose. 

At first glance, the importance of training in these fields 
hitherto considered peripheral, if not downright irrelevant, 
to management may be difficult to see. The contribution of 
the physical sciences is obvious. Also, at long last, we have 
come to appreciate the significance of the social sciences, 


which appear to relate directly to business both because of 
their content and because of their disciplines. It is obvious 
that an executive must be able to interpret the social and 
political environment in which his company operates. Fur- 
ther, he must be familiar with as much of the growing body 
of knowledge of human behavior as possible. But the liberal 
arts have always been considered remote from the practical 
hurly-burly of daily decision making. 

To demonstrate that precisely the reverse is true, let us 
examine the disciplines within which the executive moves. In 
so doing, we may alter our ideas of his job as it has traditionally 
been regarded, and bring into focus the parallels between the 
disciplines of the liberal arts and the disciplines of management. 

If we analyze the central activity of the executive, his 
process of decision, we can see three kinds of disciplines which 
prepare directly for the skills and qualities needed: 

( i ) The executive must distinguish and define the possible 
lines of action among which a choice can be made. This re- 
quires imagination, the ability to catch at ideas, shape them 
into concrete form, and present them in terms appropriate 
to the problem. 

(2) He must analyze the consequences of taking each line 
of action. Here the computer and operations research tech- 
niques can do much, but the executive must set the frame- 
work for the problems from his experience and imagination, 
and work with his own sensitivity and knowledge in the area 
of human beings where statistics and scientific prediction are 
highly fallible guides. 

(3) Then in the decision he must have the grasp to know 
its implications in all areas of an organism which is itself far 
from being absolutely predictable: the company, the market, 
the economy, and the society. . . . 

In view of all this, what can the humanities offer that is 


pertinent to the executive's job? For one thing, there is plenty 
of testimony that a common factor in executive success is the 
ability to express oneself in language. To illustrate: 

There have been many examinations of the background of execu- 
tives to discover the secrets of success, which have pointed to other 
than technical accomplishment. In the most recent of these, by Wald 
and Doty in this magazine, which is more an examination in depth 
than any that have gone before, it is clear that the literary aptitude 
of the 33 executives examined was high compared to the scientific. 
These executives also felt that English was one of the most useful 
subjects they could take in college to help them toward success. 3 

It is certainly true that the student in the humanities goes 
deeper into language, and must get more from it and do 
more with it. But to assume from this that language is only a 
tool is to stop far short of the possibilities. 

Language is not only a tool; it is the person himself. He 
makes his language, but his language also makes him. "Speak 
that I may know thee" is the old saw. Any study of language 
that stops with "techniques of communication," that sees the 
relationship as one-directional, is stunting the student's growth 
as an individual. Thus the study of literature as communica- 
tion only, and not also as experience, is short-changing the 
student. Study of literature for its own sake is an activity 
which widens and deepens the personality. 

Arthur A. Houghton, Chairman of the Board of Corning 
Glass, poses the problem bluntly with his statement opening the 
College English Association Conference at Corning last year: 

"The executive does not deal with physical matter. He deals ex- 
clusively with ideas and with men. . . . He is a skilled and prac- 
tical humanist." 

Human situations are controlling in a large proportion of 
business decisions. The executive, it is agreed, must be able to 
deal with these situations before all else. The instincts for 

3 Robert M. Wald & Roy A. Doty, "The Top Executive— A Firsthand 
Profile," Harvard Business Review (July- August 1954), p. 45. 


plucking out the fullest implications and keys to human situa- 
tions are not developed in technical courses of study, nor even 
in courses in human relations where the techniques prag- 
matically set the key for action. 

There are numerical keys to situations, from accounting; 
there are quantitative keys, provided by operations research 
and other techniques drawn from the physical sciences; there 
are theoretical keys, such as those of Freudian analysis; and 
there are the keys of the social sciences, which claim to have 
no preconceptions or assumptions but which are guided by 
doctrines nonetheless. But none of these keys provides the 
executive with the ability to see situations as a whole after and 
above all the data that are available, to seize on the central 
elements and know where the entry of action can be made. 

The fullest kind of training for this ability can actually be 
given by the practice of reading and analyzing literature and 
art. In his function the executive must do pretty much what a 
critic of literature must do, i.e., seize upon the key, the theme 
of the situation and the symbolic structure that gives it life. 
The executive must, moreover, create his object for analysis 
by himself, combining the ingredients of people and data. He 
must develop insight of an analytic, subjective kind — some- 
thing he will never get in terms of pure science, for people and 
things in management situations just will not behave them- 
selves with the admirable regularity and predictability of 
gases in a test tube! 

The fact is, of course, that science itself has had to recon- 
sider its assumptions about the nature of creative activity in 
its own field. In place of the mechanical concept. of the mind 
as a computer patiently turning over the whole range of pos- 
sible solutions one by one until it lights on the right one, 
explanations of scientific discovery now sound more and more 
like artistic or literary creation 


The creative element in management, as in the humanities, 

is developed by the disciplined imagination of a mind working 

in the widest range of dimensions possible. Some of those 

dimensions can be more precisely stated. As Clarence Randall 

has put it: 

"My job today is in the realm of ideas. If I must delegate, I must del- 
egate the things that are physical; the things that are material " 4 

Many others have agreed that the most valuable com- 
modity in management is ideas. Yet those disciplines which 
explore ideas for their own sake, which treat ideas as having 
life and interaction of their own, have been set off by many as 
"impractical." Now that the range is widening for manage- 
ment problems, we shall do well to demand that the traditional 
disciplines, which have dealt in ideas as they interact, in situa- 
tions as wide as the artist's view of life, become a major part of 
education for managers. The greater this range of resource for 
the minds of management, the more and better will be the 
ideas that emerge. 

Because literature is the disciplined control and develop- 
ment of ideas, it deserves a prominent place in this educa- 
tional plan. Furthermore, to deal with literature and the arts 
is to deal with ideas not in the stripped and bloodless way of 
science, but in the inclusive, pell-mell way that experience 
comes to us in real life — ideas and practice all muddled up. 

Lyndall F. Urwick, in a lecture given a few years ago at 

the University of California, said: 

"What the student needs is a universe of discourse, a frame of ref- 
erence, so that when he encounters the raw material of practical 
life his mind is a machine which can work fruitfully upon that ma- 
terial, refer his own practical experience, which must be extremely 
limited, to general principles, and so develop an attitude, a guiding 
philosophy, which will enable him to cope with the immense re- 
sponsibilities of business leadership in the twentieth century." 

4 Waller Carson, Jr., "Looking Around: Management Training," Har- 
vard Business Review (March- April 1953), p. 144. 


The executive's job, like life, is just one thing after another. 
The executive must be continually and instinctively making 
order and relation out of unrelated ideas — sorting, categoriz- 
ing — to the end of action. The order he is able to impose on 
this mass of experience and the actions he initiates determine 
his success as an executive. He must find meanings for his 
company and his function, not only in control reports, bal- 
ance sheets, market data, and forecasts, but also in human 
personalities, unpredictable human actions and reactions; 
and he must refer all to a scale of values. He must be prepared 
to answer the demand of the people who work for him: that 
their work contribute to the meaning of their lives. Without 
some awareness of the possibilities for meaning in human life 
he is not equipped for this central job of managing people. 
That awareness is a direct function of the humanities. 

The key to the executive's situation and problem, then, is 
the fact and type of the network of meanings he must use and 
deal with. They are his stock in trade. He must remain aware 
of significance and meaning in the obvious: production rates, 
standards, absenteeism, and the rest. But today he must be 
acquiring more awarenesses to keep up. These can no longer 
be limited to the political and international. They are wider. 
Here the experience and criticism of the arts — especially liter- 
ature — are direct preparation; for reading of this kind is above 
all a search for meanings. The mind that leads this search in 
literature and art — the author, the artist, the composer — is 
the most sensitive and aware. The mind that follows — the 
reader, the listener, the viewer — is itself stretched in the proc- 
ess; it too is going to grow more alert and aware. 

Meanings on the widest possible level feed perception on a 
narrower one. The executive whose experience of meanings is 
thus widened has a suppleness of perception on narrower 
problems which can key them to effectiveness and coordination 


with policies and objectives on up the scale of management. 

It is only prudent, then, that the executive's preparation 
include a participation (actual or vicarious) in the highest 
development of this process. Every novel and play and poem 
is an imposition of order in terms of human beings and of 
meaning in terms of a scale of values on the elements of expe- 
rience that are found formless and pointless in any human 
experience. The terms by which this order is achieved over 
the whole scale of management action uses technology and 
science as tools, but it must have a sense of the whole and of 
values to be fully effective. 

One of the most perceptive comments on the nature of the 
executive's job was made by Crawford H. Greenewalt, Presi- 
dent of du Pont: 

"... The basic requirement of executive capacity is the ability to 
create a harmonious whole out of what the academic world calls 
dissimilar disciplines." 5 

This ability to see the whole of things is again a central 
function of the humanities. The sciences have flourished by 
acute concentration upon those elements of the universe that 
can be measured, but science itself will today admit that it is 
not a means to the knowledge of the whole of man or of the 

The whole of a play or a poem or a novel is the object of 
the studies of literature because the meaning and structure of 
each part of it make sense only in terms of the whole. Thus 
one can say that this feeling for completeness which must 
govern management even more in the future than it has in the 
past is directly served by the humanities. 

Another, and perhaps the most important, aspect of the 
executive's job is the fact that he must operate in terms of 

5 "We Are Going To Need More Executives," Chemical and Engineering 
News (May 25, 1953), p. 2173. 


values. Peter F. Drucker puts this at the center of the manage- 
ment job: 

"Defining the situation always requires a decision on objectives, 
that is, on values and their relationship. It always requires a deci- 
sion on the risk the manager is willing to run. It always, in other 
words, requires judgment and a deliberate choice between values." 6 

Only in the humanities are values inextricable from the 
materials that are studied. The significance of this is pointed 
up by a comment in the Yale Report on General Education: 

"The arts are distinguished by the fact that their order already 
exists in the material studied. . . . The student who works with 
them learns to deal with intuitive symbolic ways of interpreting 
experience, ways which combine into one order the rational, the 
descriptive, and the evaluative." 7 

If there is a better description of the basic elements of 
management decision than that last sentence, I have not seen 
it. Men who must deal with situations above all in terms of 
values must be prepared by being exposed to those disciplines 
which admit that they are the stuff of all human life. It is here 
too that the most obvious reason usually advanced for the 
advantage of the humanities to an executive gains a new signifi- 
cance. With this equipment he is more likely to have interests 
outside the business. Not only is he thus likely to be less fever- 
ishly possessive about his status in the company, but he has 
available a far more extensive range of values against which 
to set his relations with others in the company and the policies 
of the company itself as well (when he is in a position to set 
those policies) 

Those disciplines in education which provide human and 
traditional perspective on the sciences and social sciences have 

6 "On Making Decisions," Dun's Review and Modern Industry (August 1954), 
p. 27. 

1 Report of the President's Committee on General Education, mimeographed 
(New Haven, 1953), p. 15. 


always been of the highest importance in developing this ulti- 
mate management skill; they will become more important as 
time goes on, for, as President Nathan Pusey of Harvard has 
remarked, "The humanities draw things back together." 

The essence of the humanities, then, is meanings and value 
judgments on all levels. When they are well taught, they force 
the student to deal with things as a whole, with the gradations 
and expressions of meaning, worked out in terms of experience 
coordinated by values and communicated by the disciplined 
imagination of the artist or writer. These meanings, in a frame- 
work of fact, intellect, emotion, and social values, are pulled 
together in an essentially spiritual complex. 

The key to management, and to the executives who make 
it up, is found in its very nature as an activity. It is easy to de- 
fine management as a combination of resources, but the fact 
that the human resources in that combination are in a very 
special way unique is something that links the humanistic dis- 
ciplines and management far more firmly than engineering 
links production to science 

Participation as a student in the poetic process of turning 
vision into rhetoric is parallel basically to the central problem 
of the executive, when he works to get policy and company 
goals into action, integrating plans and objectifying them. 
And executive action in its own way is no less an art. 

There are levels of organization in intellectual disciplines 
as well as in people. On the level of composition, rhetoric, and 
communication the humanities offer useful tools for the tech- 
nician in business. But there also are higher levels of organiza- 
tion and integration in work of literary art, which correspond 
to the integrated personality for which management is look- 
ing. Only by exposure to these can we hope to get the char- 
acter which is essentially the organization of the personality 
on the highest level of values. 


To neglect the humanities in education is to accept the 
doctrine of the educationalists as set by John Dewey: "The 
educational process has no end beyond itself." Management 
has already discovered that the corporation cannot long exist 
if it has no end beyond itself. It has now seen its error in giv- 
ing education the impression that the end of education should 
be the service of the technical needs of business. There is a 
new synthesis now in the making through which the true ends 
of both can best be served. It remains only for management to 
put it into effect. 


The Importance of Language 

Peter F. Drucker 

The manager has a specific tool: information. He does not "handle" 
people; he motivates, guides, organizes people to do their own 
work. His tool — his only tool — to do all this is the spoken or written 
word or the language of numbers. No matter whether the man- 
ager's job is engineering, accounting or selling, his effectiveness 
depends on his ability to listen and to read, on his ability to speak 
and to write. He needs skill in getting his thinking across to other 
people as well as skill in finding out what other people are after. 

Of all the skills he needs, today's manager possesses least those 
of reading, writing, speaking and figuring. One look at what is 
known as "policy language" in large companies will show how 
illiterate we are. Improvement is not a matter of learning faster 
reading or public speaking. Managers have to learn to know lan- 
guage, to understand what words are and what they mean. Per- 
haps most important, they have to acquire respect for language as 
man's most precious gift and heritage. The manager must under- 
stand the meaning of the old definition of rhetoric as "the art 
which draws men's heart to the love of true knowledge." Without 
ability to motivate by means of the written and spoken word or the 
telling number, a manager cannot be successful. . . . 

It can be said with little exaggeration that of the common col- 
lege courses being taught today the ones most nearly "vocational" 
as preparation for management are the writing of poetry and of 
short stories. For these two courses teach a man how to express 
himself, teach him words and their meaning and, above all, give 
him practice in writing. 


(Harper & Brothers, New York 1954). 


An Ulcer, Gentlemen, 
Is An Unwritten Poem 


The poet in our times is a figure of estrangement and he 
knows it. He not only knows it, he has grown used to the fact 
and does not much mind it. The truth seems to be, for that 
matter, that the poet — outside those Golden Ages of folk- 
poetry now long gone — never did reach more than a few 
special people in any culture. 

In the past, however, poets have managed to persuade 
themselves that they were some sort of social force. Eliza- 
bethan poets liked to claim that their sonnets conferred immor- 
tality on the ladies they wrote about. The seventeenth century 
satirists were especially fond of the idea that by "holding folly 
up to ridicule" they purified the intellect of their ages. More 
recently Shelley found it possible to assert that "Poets are the 
unacknowledged legislators of the world." And even within 
the last twenty-five years, the social poets of the 'thirties may 
be cited as having seriously believed that their poems of social 
protest had a measurable effect on the government of nations. 

Stephen Spender, looking back on the mood of poetry in 
the 'thirties from the vantage point of 1950, summarized the 
poet's then-sense of himself as very much a warrior of the 
practical world: 

"It was still possible then to think of a poem as a palpable, overt, 
and effective anti-fascist action. Every poetic assertion of the 
dignity of the individual seemed to be a bullet fired in the war 
against human repression." 


Poetry vs. Dow-Jones 

I know of no sane poet today who persuades himself that 
the action of his art and imagination has any significant con- 
sequence in the practical reality of Dow-Jones averages, elec- 
tion returns, and state of the nation. Wherever the practical 
world may be, Auden has defined the position of poetry in 
our time: 

"For poetry makes nothing happen: it survives/In the valley of its 
saying where executives/Would never want to tamper; it flows 
south/From ranches of isolation and the busy griefs, /Raw towns 
that we believe and die in; it survives, /A way of happening, a 

But no — perhaps to prove that poets are no prophets — the 
executives have wanted to tamper. Under the auspices of the 
College English Association a group of leading business exec- 
utives have been meeting regularly with writers and teachers 
of the liberal arts; and from their problems in the practical 
world of business management, they seem to be asking seri- 
ously what meeting there can be between the arts and the 
practicalities of industry. 

The Gap Is Real 

The answer to these questions may well be that the poets 
and the practical men would be mutually happier in leaving 
one another strictly alone, the poets on their ranches of isola- 
tion practising a way of happening, and the practical men in 
their cities of numbered and lettered glass doors busily push- 
ing the buttons of the world. 

For the gap that divides the poet from the practical man is 
real. Nor will it be measurably closed by pointing out that 
some men have functioned with distinction in both the poetical 
and the practical imagination. There was a director of public 
works named Chaucer, there was a bricklayer named Ben 


Jonson, there was a good soldier named Richard Lovelace — 
— one could compile endlessly. But all that such a list would 
prove is that some men are ambidextrous: it would not elimi- 
nate the distinction between the right hand and the left. 

A poem is a kind of human behavior. Plowing a field, 
running a chemical experiment, and analyzing the character 
of a job-applicant are also kinds of human behavior. The 
poem may, of course, be about any one of these human 
actions; but when the poem deals with them, it does so in 
non-practical ways. The poet who writes about plowing a field 
may find significance in the idea of plowing, or he may describe 
plowing so richly that the riches of the description become a 
self-pleasing idea in themselves. He does not, however, turn 
physical soil, plant an actual crop, and take it to the literal 
human diet by way of a negotiable cash market. In the same 
way, the poet may create a powerfully penetrating picture of 
the character of the man the business executive is interviewing 
for a job. But when the poet has finished his analysis, he has 
no need to make a payroll decision and to assign the man to a 
specific job in a specific department. 

Poetry and practicality are in fact two different worlds 
with two different workers of experience and of imagination. 
The poet enters his world as an as if: he writes as if he were 
analyzing a real man seated before him. He is free with a 
stroke of the pen to change the lineaments of the world he has 
imagined. The worksheets of a poem by Karl Shapiro contain 
a monumental example of this freedom to as if at will. 

Setting out to describe the [as if] dome of darkness that 
settles over a city at night, he writes in his first draft: "Under 
the fatherly dome of the universe and the town." Now "fatherly 
dome" cannot fail to imply a theological universe in the mind 
of God the Father. For reasons that need not be examined 
here, Shapiro, in his second draft, rephrased the idea "under 


the dome of zero." Simply by changing one central word, 
Shapiro swung the universe itself from the theological con- 
cept of "father" to the scientific concept of "zero." And the 
poem continued to follow itself as if the process of reversing 
thirty centuries of human attitudes in a single word amounted 
to nothing whatever. 

Two Worlds? 

The practical man has no such large freedom. He enters a 
world called is. When he is at work, he is plowing a field, he is 
assembling chemical apparatus, he is interviewing an actual 
man whose name appears on the census listings and who is 
offering his services in return for real and taxable wages. 

It is only natural, moreover, that men who give their 
attention to either of these two worlds should not be especially 
well disposed to the other. Poets tend to think very little of 
stock-brokers, and stock-brokers tend to think even less — if at 
all — of poets. And the fact is that some of the best poetry of 
our times has been written on what may be called an inverted 
sense of reality, an order of imagination that asserts openly or 
by implication that what the practical men do is meaningless 
and that only the as if of the vicarious imagination has a place 
in the final mind of man. So Wallace Stevens, in a poem sig- 
nificantly titled "Holiday in Reality," lists a series of things 
seen and says of them: "These are real only if I make them 
so," and concludes: "Intangible arrows quiver and stick in 
the skin/ And I taste at the root of the tongue the unreal/ 
Of what is real." 

It may be very much to the point that Wallace Stevens, in 
another part of his imagination, is a vice-president of the 
Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company and a specialist 
in claims on surety bonds. Obviously, however, Wallace 
Stevens cannot look into his surety bond claims and send in a 


report that "These are real only if I make them so." That dif- 
ference between the world of practical solutions and the world 
of the vicarious imagination must not be blinked away. 

What must be borne in mind, rather, is the fact that no 
sane human being is exclusively a practical man. The plant 
manager may be the most mechanically efficient of calculators 
during his waking hours; and still his dreams or his night- 
mares will be human and impractical. What is his order of 
reality and of business efficiency when he first holds his new- 
born child? Or when, as some men must in time, he stands by 
his child's grave? What is his order of reality when he steps 
out of a late conference and finds a hurricane shaking the 
earth? Or his wife is ill and the telephone rings: In one ear he 
hears his assistant howling that the sub-contractor sent the 
wrong parts and that a rush order is delayed, while with the 
other he hears the doctor close the bedroom door and start 
down the stairs to tell him his wife will or will not recover. 
Which of these realities is more real than the other to live to? 

Of The Humanity of Man 

The poem does not care and cannot care what happens to 
that rush order. The poem is of the humanity of the man. 
And despite the tendency ... [to admire] only those men who 
"do things" and to scorn "dreamers," the fact is that no man 
can be wholly practical or wholly impractical, and that the 
humanity of any man's life requires some, at least, of both 
orders of the imagination. 

There is no poetry for the practical man. There is poetry 
only for the mankind of the man who spends a certain amount 
of his life turning the mechanical wheel. But let him spend too 
much of his life at the mechanics of practicality and either he 
must become something less than a man, or his very mechan- 
ical efficiency will become impaired by the frustrations stored 


up in his irrational human personality. An ulcer, gentlemen, 
is an unkissed imagination taking its revenge for having been 
jilted. It is an unwritten poem, a neglected music, an un- 
painted watercolor, an undanced dance. It is a declaration 
from the mankind of the man that a clear spring of joy has 
not been tapped, and that it must break through, muddily, 
on its own. 

Poetry is one of the forms of joy, the most articulate, the 
most expanding, and, therefore, the most fulfilling form. It is 
no separation from the world; it is the mankind of the world, 
the most human language of man's uncertain romance with 
the universe. 


Communications and Distribution 

Frederic R. Gamble 

Essentially, selling and advertising consist of communicating in- 
formation and persuasion. This requires high talents of the human 
mind and the understanding of human nature. Some people seem 
to be born with these gifts; others acquire them. 

There is general agreement among experienced communicators 
that the best background is one of history, sciences, languages, eco- 
nomics, social studies, including nowadays new studies of human 
motivations — the kind of formal training usually described as 
liberal arts. . . . 

In recent years some academic leaders have lamented the de- 
cline of liberal arts education and have sought to revive it by 
advocating liberal arts for individual enjoyment or for the devel- 
opment of the complete man. These benefits of liberal arts are, 
no doubt, true today as they always have been, but I believe lib- 
eral arts education has a greater future than it has ever had. 

American business has been learning and using the values of 
liberal arts. I believe American business will turn more and more 
to liberal arts for the talents it will need in distribution, just as it 
turns to the sciences and technical schools for the talents in 

It seems to me almost certain that a great expansion of liberal 
arts education lies immediately ahead. 


Knox College Commencement Address (Galesburg, Illinois, June 10, 1957) . 


Labor, Leisure 

and Liberal Education 


Let me begin where anyone has to begin — with a tentative 
definition of education. Education is a practical activity. It is 
concerned with means to be employed or devised for the 
achievement of an end. The broadest definition with which 
no one, I think, can disagree is that education is a process 
which aims at the improvement or betterment of men, in 
themselves and in relation to society. Few will quarrel with 
this definition because most people are willing to say that 
education is good; and its being good requires it to do some- 
thing that is good for men. The definition says precisely this: 
that education improves men or makes them better. 

All the quarrels that exist in educational philosophy exist 
because men have different conceptions of what the good life 
is, of what is good for man, of the conditions under which man 
is improved or bettered. Within that large area of controversy 
about education, there is one fundamental distinction that I 
should like to call to your attention. 

There seem to be two ways in which men can be bettered 
or improved: first, with respect to special functions or talents 
and, second, with respect to the capacities and functions which 
are common to all men. Let me explain. In civilized societies, 
and even in primitive societies, there is always a rudimentary, 
and often a very complex, division of labor. Society exists 
through a diversity of occupations, through different groups 
of men performing different functions. In addition to the 
division of labor and the consequent diversity of functions, 


there is the simple natural fact of individual differences. So 
one view of education is that which takes these individual and 
functional differences into consideration and says that men are 
made better by adjusting them to their occupations, by mak- 
ing them better carpenters or better dentists or better brick- 
layers, by improving them, in other words, in the direction of 
their own special talents. 

The other view differs from this, in that it makes the pri- 
mary aim of education the betterment of men not with respect 
to their differences but with respect to the similarities which all 
men have. According to this theory, if there are certain things 
that all men can do, or certain things that all men must do, it is 
with these that education is chiefly concerned. 

This simple distinction leads us to differentiate between 
specialized education and general education. There is some 
ground for identifying specialized education with vocational 
education, largely because specialization has some reference 
to the division of labor and the diversity of occupations, and 
for identifying general education with liberal education be- 
cause the efforts of general education are directed toward the 
liberal training of man as man. 

There is still another way of differentiating education in 
terms of its ends. . . . An educational process has an intrinsic 
end if its result lies entirely within the person being educated, 
an excellence or perfection of his person, an improvement 
built right into his nature as a good habit is part of the nature 
of the person in whom a power is habituated. An extrinsic end 
of education, on the other hand, lies in the goodness of an 
operation, not as reflecting the goodness of the operator but 
rather the perfection of something else as a result of the 
operation being performed well. 

Thus, for example, there can be two reasons for learning 
carpentry. One might wish to learn carpentry simply to ac- 


quire the skill or art of using tools to fabricate things out of 
wood, an art or skill that anyone is better for having. Or one 
might wish to learn carpentry in order to make good tables 
and chairs, not as works of art which reflect the excellence of 
the artist, but as commodities to sell. This distinction between 
the two reasons for learning carpentry is connected in my 
mind with the difference or distinction between liberal and 
vocational education. This carpentry is the same in both 
cases, but the first reason for learning carpentry is liberal, the 
second vocational. 

All of this, I think, leads directly to the heart of the matter: 
that vocational training is training for work or labor; it is spe- 
cialized rather than general; it is for an extrinsic end; and 
ultimately it is the education of slaves or workers. And from 
my point of view it makes no difference whether you say 
slaves or workers, for you mean that the worker is a man who 
does nothing but work — a state of affairs which has obtained, 
by the way, during the whole industrial period, from its 
beginning almost to our day. 

Liberal education is education for leisure; it is general in 
character; it is for an intrinsic and not an extrinsic end; and, 
as compared with vocational training, which is the education 
of slaves or workers, liberal education is the education of 
free men. 

I would like, however, to add one basic qualification at this 
point. According to this definition or conception of liberal 
education, it is not restricted in any way to training in the 
liberal arts. We often too narrowly identify liberal education 
with those arts which are genuinely the liberal arts — grammar, 
rhetoric, and logic and the mathematical disciplines — because 
that is one of the traditional meanings of liberal education. 
But, as I am using the term "liberal" here, in contra-distinc- 
tion to "vocational," I am not confining liberal education to 


intellectual education or to the cultivation of the mind. On 
the contrary, as I am using the phrase, liberal education has 
three large departments, according to the division of human 
excellences or modes of perfection. Physical training or gym- 
nastics in the Platonic sense, if its aim is to produce a good 
coordination of the body, is liberal education. So also is moral 
training, if its aim is to produce moral perfections, good moral 
habits or virtues; and so also is intellectual training, if its aim 
is the production of good intellectual habits or virtues. All 
three are liberal as distinguished from vocational. This is not, 
in a sense, a deviation from the conception of liberal educa- 
tion as being concerned only with the mind, for in all three of 
these the mind plays a role. All bodily skills are arts; all moral 
habits involve prudence; so the mind is not left out of the pic- 
ture even when one is talking about moral and physical 

After this purely preliminary statement, I should like to 
spend most of the remaining time on the problem of what 
labor is, and what leisure is, and how these two things are 
related. For as understanding of these two terms becomes 
clearer, I think understanding of liberal education and of the 
problem of liberal education in our society will become 

Let me begin by considering the parts of a human life — 
and by "the parts of a human life" I mean the division of the 
twenty-four hours of each day in the succession of days that 
make up the weeks, months, and years of our lives. The lives 
of all of us today are divided roughly into thirds. This was not 
always the case. The lives of the slaves of antiquity and, until 
recently, the wage-slaves of our modern industrial society 
were divided into two parts, not three. We are, however, 
accustomed to think of our lives as having three parts. 

One-third is sleep. I include with sleep — because they be- 


long to the same category, and I shall use "sleep" as a symbol 
of all such things — eating (insofar as it is not liberal, insofar as 
it is quite apart from conversation, eating just to sustain the 
body) ; the acts of washing and cleansing the body; and even 
exercise, insofar as it is indispensable for physical fitness. These 
things are like sleep because they maintain the body as a 
biological mechanism. 

Sleep, then, is one-third; work or labor, one- third; and 
one-third is free time or spare time. I am defining the latter 
negatively now, as time not spent in sleep or work, time free 
from work or biological necessities. Now I say this threefold 
division of the parts of a day (and, therefore, a human life) 
into sleep and the adjuncts of sleep, work or labor, and free or 
spare time is not entirely satisfactory. A further division is re- 
quired. Free time, it is clear, may be used in two ways when it 
is not used, as some people use it, for sleep and other biological 
necessities. One of the two ways in which free time can be 
used is play — and by "play" I mean recreation, amusement, 
diversion, pastime, and, roughly, all ways of killing time. The 
other use of free or spare time I should like to denominate 
roughly for the moment — I will analyze it more carefully 
later — engagement in leisure activities. If you say, "What do 
you mean by leisure activities?" I answer, "Such things as 
thinking or learning, reading or writing, conversation or cor- 
respondence, love and acts of friendship, political activity, do- 
mestic activity, artistic and aesthetic activity." Just think of 
that list of things. They are not work, and they are not, or 
they seem not to be, play. Here is a group of activities which 
occupy time free from sleep and work and which are distinct 
from recreation or amusement. But the line of distinction is 
not clear, nor is the definition of the class of activities. ... 

Let me see if I can explain the differences of work, play, 
and leisure activity. Certain criteria, which are often used to 


distinguish work, play, and leisure, fail, I think, to define 
these three things. For example, persons often use the criterion 
of pleasure and pain, somehow thinking of work as painful 
and play or leisure as pleasant. It is immediately apparent, I 
think, that this is incorrect. Play can be quite painful. What 
does one mean by speaking of a "grueling" match of tennis, if 
one does not mean that there is often physical pain in playing 
a long, fast tennis match? Work certainly can be pleasant. 
There is actual pleasure in a skilled performance, even if the 
performance is part of a laborious activity. And leisure activi- 
ties, if I am right in thinking that learning is a typical leisure 
activity, certainly can be quite painful. Note, moreover, a 
very common phrase, one used in school, namely, school work 
or home work. Though school work and home work are study 
and are therefore a part of learning and belong to leisure 
activity, we call them "work." Why? Because there is some 
pain involved? I think not. I think we call them "work," as I 
shall try to show you subsequently, not because pain is in- 
volved in them but because we do them under some obliga- 
tion, under some compulsion. This is the first indication that 
the meaning of "work" somehow involves the compulsory. 

Fatigue is a second criterion that is often used to distinguish 
work, play, and leisure. All forms of activity can be tiring, 
and all forms of activity which involve both the mind and the 
body call for sleep to wash away fatigue. Nor is it true to say 
that work is difficult and play and leisure are easy, for play 
and leisure activities can be difficult, too. Nor do I think that 
the Thomistic division of the good into the useful, the pleas- 
ant, and the virtuous will by itself (although I think it comes 
near to it) perfectly distinguish between work as the useful, 
play as the pleasant, and leisure as the virtuous. Unless those 
terms are more sharply restricted, I think one could regard 
work as pleasant or even virtuous in a sense; play as useful 


insofar as it is recreative and performs a biological function; 
and leisure activities, although they may be intrinsically vir- 
tuous, as useful and pleasant. Let me therefore offer a cri- 
terion which I think will succeed in drawing the line between 
labor and leisure and will take care of play as well. 

Though it may not perfectly account for play, I would like 
to propose that the distinction between labor or work, on the 
one hand, and leisure activities, on the other, is to be made in 
terms of what is biologically necessary or compulsory and 
what is rationally or humanly desirable or free. Let me see if 
I can explain this criterion by applying it. Labor, I say, is an 
economically necessary activity. It is something you do to 
produce the means of subsistence. It makes no difference at all 
whether the worker gets consumable goods immediately by 
his laboring activity or wages wherewith to buy consumable 
goods. Let us think of this for a moment in the following way. 
Let consumable goods — either direct consumables or money 
— be the compensation of the laborer; and, further, let us 
assume for the moment that no man gets his subsistence in the 
form of either consumable goods or money, without labor. 
Then the definition of work or labor is: that activity which is 
required, is compulsory, for all men in order for them to live 
or subsist and which therefore must be extrinsically compen- 
sated, that is, the laborer must earn by his labor the means of 
his subsistence. 

Let us test this. Men who have ample and secure means of 
subsistence have no need to labor. This is the historical mean- 
ing of the leisure class. Provide any man or group of men with 
ample and secure means of subsistence, and they will not 
work. I do not mean that they will not be active, that they 
will not be productive, that they will not be creative, but they 
will not work. They will not labor in the sense in which I 
tried to define that term sharply. Anything they will do will 


have to have for them some intrinsic compensation. Strictly, the 
word "compensation" is here wrongly used. The activities in 
which they engage will have to be intrinsically rewarding. What 
they do will somehow be done for its own sake, since they are 
provided with the means of subsistence 

Leisure activities, in sharp distinction from labor or work, 
consist of those things that men do because they are desirable 
for their own sake. They are self-rewarding, not externally 
compensated, and they are freely engaged in. They may be 
morally necessary, but they are not biologically compulsory. 
You can see the trouble with this definition as soon as you say 
it. You may ask at once, "What is play? Is not play self-re- 
warding? Is not play distinguished from labor by the negative 
distinction that it is something you do not have to do? Some- 
thing that you freely choose to do?" 

I think we can get some light on how to sharpen the defi- 
nition of leisure, and keep it distinct from play, by etymo- 
logical considerations. I must confess to being genuinely fas- 
cinated by the background of the word "leisure." The word 
which in Greek means "leisure" is scole. Notice that our 
English word "school" comes from scole. 

Now the Greek word scole has two meanings, just as the 
English word "pastime" has two meanings. In the dictionary 
the first meaning of "pastime" refers to the time itself, to 
spare time. The second meaning of "pastime" refers to what is 
done with such time, namely, play. It is this second meaning 
that we usually intend by our use of the word. So the first 
meaning of scole refers to the time; the second to the content 
or use of the time. The first is leisure in the merely negative 
sense of time free from labor, or spare time; but the second 
meaning, which appears very early in Greek literature, refers 
to what men should do with this time, namely, learn and dis- 
cuss. It is the second meaning — what one does with time free 


from labor — which permits scole to become the root of the 
word "school." This, it seems to me, throws a fascinating light 
on a phrase that was used frequently in my youth when boys 
of sixteen faced, with their parents, the question, "Shall I go 
to work or shall I go to school?" Making this a choice of oppo- 
sites is quite right, because work is one thing and school is 
another. It is the difference between labor and leisure. 

When we look for the Latin equivalent of the Greek word 
scole , more light is thrown on the subject. The first meaning, 
time free from work or labor, appears in the Latin word otium. 
Otium is the root of the word negotium, which means "negotia- 
tion" or "business." Otium is the very opposite of negotium or 
"business;" it simply means time free from work. What is won- 
derful here is that the English word "otiose" is not a very com- 
plimentary word — it means "unemployed, idle, sterile, futile, 
useless." The second meaning of scole is translated by the 
Latin schola. This again is a source of "school." Finally, the 
first meaning of otium has a synonym in Latin, vacatio, from 
which we get the word "vacation" and also, interestingly 
enough, "vacancy." 

The English word "leisure" comes down a totally different 
line. It comes from the French loisir, and from the Latin licere; 
it has the root meaning of the permissable and the free. The 
Latin licere is also the root of "liberty" and "license," in addi- 
tion to "leisure." I think it is extraordinary to see these three 
words related in that one Latin root. 

In the light of this etymology, I think we can distinguish 
leisure from play as two quite different uses of free or spare 
time, that is, not working time. Play may be one of two things. 
It may be biologically useful like sleep, just as vacations and 
recreational activities are biologically useful. Just as sleep is a 
way of washing away fatigue, so a certain amount of play or 
vacation or recreation has the same kind of biological utility 


in the recuperation of the body. Play may be, however, some- 
thing in excess of this. Obviously, children play to excess; 
they do not play just to refresh themselves. And I often won- 
der whether this does not have a bearing on the role of play 
in adult life, that is, whether or not the role of play in adult 
life is not always a temporary regression to childhood. I ask 
this question quite seriously, because after one has passed the 
point where play is biologically useful, all it can be is otiose, 
sterile, and useless. 

One can admit, I think, that life involves two kinds of play; 
play for the sake of work, when it serves the same purpose as 
sleep, and play for its own sake. Sensual pleasure is admittedly 
a part of human life, but only in a limited quantity. Beyond 
that you have licentiousness; so, too, licentious play is a mis- 
use of leisure. 

Certainly, no quality attaches to useless play other than 
pleasure. I, for one, can see no perfection, no improvement, 
resulting from it. But leisure consists of those intrinsically good 
activities which are both self-rewarding and meaningful be- 
yond themselves. They need not be confined to themselves. 
They can be both good things to do and good in their results, 
as, for example, political activities, the activities of a citizen, 
are both good in themselves and good in their results. This 
does not mean that leisure activities are never terminal, never 
without ends beyond themselves; it means only that they must 
be good in themselves, things worth doing even if there were no 
need for them to be done. 

The results of leisure activity are two sorts of human excel- 
lence or perfection: those private excellences by which a man 
perfects his own nature and those public excellences which 
can be translated into the performance of his moral or political 
duty — the excellence of a man in relation to other men and to 
society. Hence I would define leisure activities as those activi- 


ties desirable for their own sake (and so uncompensated and 
not compulsory) and also for the sake of the excellences, pri- 
vate and public, to which they give rise. This means, by the 
way, that leisure activities are identical with virtue 

Suppose we draw a line between economically or biolog- 
ically useful activities and those which are morally or hu- 
manly good. . . . What results from making this separation? 
We get a threefold division: from the biologically necessary, 
we get sleep, work, and play (insofar as these serve to recu- 
perate the body or to remove fatigue); from the humanly, 
morally good, the noble or honorable, we get all leisure 
activities; and from the superfluous, the otiose, we again get 
play, but here we mean play as it consists entirely in killing or 
wasting time, however pleasant that may be. 

We see, furthermore, that the very same activities can be 
either labor or leisure, according to the conditions under 
which they are performed. Let us take manual work again — 
for instance, carpentry. Manual work can be leisure if it is 
work done for the sake of the art that is involved and for the 
cultivation of an artist. It is labor if it is done for compensa- 
tion. That example may be too obvious, but we can see the 
same thing in teaching or painting, composing music, or po- 
litical action of any sort. Any one of these can be labor as well 
as leisure, if a person does it in order to earn his subsistence. 
For if, to begin with, one accepts the proposition that no man 
shall get food or clothing or shelter, no man shall get the 
means of subsistence, without earning them, then some activ- 
ities which would otherwise be leisure must be done by some 
persons for compensation. This makes them no less intrin- 
sically rewarding but gives them an additional character. 
This double character causes certain activities to be labor, 
looked at one way, and leisure, looked at another. 

This accounts for the fact that in professors' lives or states- 


men's lives the line between labor and leisure is almost im- 
possible to draw. . . 

Not only can the same activity be both leisure and work; 
but even play, or things that I would call play, can be work 
for some people. Professional football is work to those who 
play it. Think also of all the persons whose working lives are 
spent in the amusement business. 

This leads to further interesting points about the kinds of 
work Taking both manual and mental work into consider- 
ation together, I would like to make the distinction between 
productive and nonproductive labor. I would say that work 
or labor is productive when it is economically useful, that is, 
when it produces means of subsistence in one form or another. 

Here it is proper for the mode of compensation to consist 
of wages (or, as they are called more politely, "salaries"), 
with some basis for what we call a fair wage in a relation of 
equivalence between the amount of labor and the product of 
labor. Nonproductive labors, on the other hand, are activities 
which may be called work only in the sense that they are com- 
pensated — such things as teaching, artistic creation, the pro- 
fessional work of medicine and law, and the activities of 
statesmen. Here it is wrong to use the words "wages" or 
"salary"; and it is interesting to note that the language con- 
tains other words. We speak of an "honorarium" or "fee"; 
but the word I like best is the word "living" in the sense in 
which a priest gets, not wages or a salary, but a living. He is 
given his subsistence. He has not earned it by production. He has 
done something which it is good to do, but he also has to live; 
and there is a sense in which he can be said to have "earned 
his living." Here there can be no calculation of fair compen- 
sation. When one talks about fees or honoraria, the only thing 
one can talk about is the amount of time spent. Lawyers very 
often set their fees entirely in terms of time. 


I would like to make a second distinction — between servile 
and liberal work. I think it is difficult to draw the line be- 
tween these two, except in extreme cases, because many 
kinds of labor or work are partly servile and partly liberal. But 
the extreme cases are quite clear; and it is important at least 
to recognize the mixed cases or the shadowy ones that lie 

By "servile work" I mean work done only because it is 
economically necessary and done only for compensation — 
work that no one would do if the means of subsistence were 
otherwise provided. "Liberal work" is work or activity which, 
though sometimes done for compensation, would be done 
even if no compensation were involved, because the work 
itself is self-rewarding. In other words, liberal work contains, 
at its very heart, activities that are essentially leisure activities, 
things that would be done for their own sake, even though 
subsistence were otherwise secured. The consequence of this 
is that the man who is a liberal worker — a teacher, lawyer, 
statesman, or creative artist — may, and usually does, work 
many more hours than are required for his compensation. He 
does more than is necessary to do a fair job for the person who 
is compensating him, because he cannot determine the point 
at which his activity passes into strictly leisure activity. In 
fact, it would be more accurate to say that all his time is spent 
in leisure activity, though some part of it earns his compensa- 
tion. I think examples of the research scientist, the teacher, or 
the statesman make this perfectly clear. 

Finally, in terms of these distinctions, there is at least the 
beginning of an order for the parts of life. It would seem to 
me that, by the very nature of the terms themselves, sleep and 
its adjunct activities and play as recreation must be for the 
sake of work; and work must be for the sake of leisure. Earn- 
ing a living, in short, and keeping alive must be for the sake of 


living well. Many of the obvious disorders of human life result 
from improper understanding of the order of these parts — for 
example, sleeping for its own sake, which is at least neurotic 
and at worst suicidal; working as an end in itself, which is a 
complete perversion of human life; working for the sake of 
play, which is certainly a misconception of leisure; or free 
time as time to kill in pleasure-seeking. Play for its own sake, 
in order to kill time or escape boredom is as neurotic as sleep 
for its own sake. . . . 

In terms of this very brief and sketchy analysis of the parts 
of life, and of these fairly difficult distinctions between work, 
play, and leisure activities, we now can see clearly the dif- 
ference between vocational training and liberal education. 
Vocational training is learning for the sake of earning. I hope 
I step on nobody's toes too hard when I say, as I must say, 
that therefore it is an absolute misuse of school to include any 
vocational training at all. School is a place of learning for the 
sake of learning, not for the sake of earning. It is as simple as 
that. Please understand that I do not mean vocational train- 
ing can be totally dispensed with; I mean only that it should 
be done on the job. It should be done as preparatory to work; 
and as preparatory to work, it should be compensated. No 
one should have to take vocational training without compen- 
sation, because it is not self-rewarding. To include vocational 
training in school without compensation is to suppose that it is 
education, which it is not at all. In contrast to vocational 
training, liberal education is learning for its own sake or for 
the sake of further education. It is learning for the sake of all 
those self-rewarding activities which include the political, 
aesthetic, and speculative. 

There are three further comments I should like to make on 
this distinction. First, professional education can be both vo- 
cational and liberal, because the kind of work for which it is 


the preliminary training is essentially liberal work. The work 
of a lawyer is liberal, not servile, work. In Greece free men 
who were citizens were all lawyers; there education for legal 
practice was liberal education. Professional education is voca- 
tional only insofar as this kind of leisure activity happens to be 
a way that some men, in our division of labor, earn their 

Second, liberal education can involve work simply because 
we find it necessary to compel children to begin, and for 
some years to continue, their educations. Whenever you find 
an adult, a chronological adult, who thinks that learning or 
study is work, let me say that you have met a child. One sign 
that you are grown up, that you are no longer a child, is that 
you never regard any part of study or learning as work. As 
long as learning or study has anything compulsory about it, 
you are still in the condition of childhood. The mark of truly 
adult learning is that it is done with no thought of labor or 
work at all, with no sense of the compulsory. It is entirely vol- 
untary. Liberal education at the adult level can, therefore, be 
superior to liberal education in school, where learning is 
identified with work. 

Third, if schooling is equivalent to the proper use of leisure 
time in youth then the proper use of leisure time in adult life 
should obviously include the continuation of schooling — 
without teachers, without compulsion, without assignments — 
the kind of learning that adults do outside school, the kind 
they do in conversations and discussions, in reading and study. 

Finally, we may ask the place of liberal education in an 
industrial democracy. We can do this quickly by considering 
two basic errors or fallacies peculiar to our society; the first I 
would call the aristocratic error; the second, the industrial 

The aristocratic error is simply the error of dividing men 


into free men and slaves or workers, into a leisure class and a 
working class, instead of dividing the time of each human life 
into working time and leisure time. In the last few weeks I 
have been reading Karl Marx's Capital and, quite apart from 
the theory of surplus value — Marx's special notion of capital- 
istic production — the book, as you know, is filled with the hor- 
rible facts about the life of the laboring classes until almost 
our own day. We must face the fact that, until very recently, 
the working classes did nothing but sleep and work. When we 
realize that children started to work at the age of seven; that 
whole families worked — men, women, and children; that the 
hours of working time were often twelve and fourteen hours a 
day, sometimes seven days a week, then we realize that the 
distinction between the leisure class and the working class is 
something you and I no longer can appreciate because it has 
disappeared from our society. It does not exist in the world 
today, at least not in the United States. But, if we consider the 
past, in which workers were like slaves, the aristocratic error 
consisted in the division of mankind into two classes, a leisure 
class and a working class. 

To correct this error, we must say not only that all men 
are free but also that all men must work for their subsistence 
(which is nothing but a democratic or socialist variant on the 
biblical admonition that man must eat by the sweat of his 
brow) . You will see the educational consequences of this fal- 
lacy when you stop to think how little point there would have 
been in talking about liberal education for all men in the 
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when much more than 
half the population had no time for education. It would have 
been just as meaningless for them to have been given a liberal 
education, doomed as they were to lead lives of work and sleep. 

The second fallacy arises from the fact that industrial pro- 
duction has created an abundance of leisure time for all. I do 


not mean that the working classes today have as much leisure 
time as the leisure classes of other centuries. I mean simply 
that more leisure exists today, per capita, than ever existed be- 
fore. Though industrial production has produced this abun- 
dance of leisure, industrialism as such has made all men 
servants of productivity; and, when productivity itself is re- 
garded as the highest good, leisure is debased to the level of 
play or idleness, which can be justified only as recreation. The 
man of leisure is regarded by industrialists, interested solely 
in productivity, as either a playboy or a dilettante. Leisure 
loses its meaning when industrial society reduces it to an inci- 
dental byproduct of productivity. 

If these two fallacies are corrected, we reach, I think, the 
obvious conclusion that in a rightly conceived industrial de- 
mocracy, liberal education should be and can be for all men. It 
should be because they are all equal as persons, as citizens, 
from a democratic point of view. It can be because indus- 
trialism can emancipate all men from slavery and because 
workers in our day need not spend their entire lives earning 
their livings. Liberal education in the future of democracy 
should be and should do for all men what it once was and did 
for the few in the aristocracies of the past. It should be part of 
the lives of all men. 

But I may be asked whether I have forgotten about indi- 
vidual differences. Even if all men are citizens, even if they 
are emancipated from the complete drudgery of labor, it still 
is not true that all men are equally endowed with talent or 
have an equal capacity to lead the good life 

The good or happy life is a life lived in the cultivation of 
virtue. Another way of saying this is that the good life or the 
happy life is concerned with leisure. The good life depends on 
labor, but it consists of leisure. Labor and all conditions that go 
with labor are the antecedent means of happiness. They are 


external goods, that is, wealth. Leisure activities are the ends 
for which wealth is the means. Leisure activities are the con- 
stituents of happiness. Leisure activities constitute not mere 
living but living well. 

Happiness so conceived is open to all men, when all men are 
both workers and free men. As regards both work and leisure, 
each man should do the best work and participate in the best 
sort of leisure activities of which he is capable, the highest for 
which his talents equip him. So conceived, happiness is the 
same for all men, though it differs in actual content, in degree 
of intensity, according to the individual differences of men. 

It is clear, I think, that liberal education is absolutely nec- 
essary for human happiness, for living a good human life. 
The most prevalent of all human ills are these two: a man's 
discontent with the work he does and the necessity of having 
to kill time. Both these ills can be, in part, cured by liberal 
education. Liberal schooling prepares for a life of learning 
and for the leisure activities of a whole lifetime. Adult liberal 
education is an indispensable part of the life of leisure, which 
is a life of learning. 


Liberal Education 
for Business Leadership 


My subject can be easily stated. If the proper study of man- 
kind is man, the proper topic for an educational or training 
program is how to bring out the potentialities that lie within 
men and women. In particular, what kind of education or training 
is required to unlock those human qualities that are needed in guiding 
great modern businesses? 

I realize it is presumptuous of me to fumble with a ques- 
tion that has attracted the wisest and noblest spirits of all 
ages. But surely, inasmuch as this question is of such conse- 
quence, it should stir us to consider together what it means for 
us, not simply accept what others have said about it. 

Today there is dread felt by millions of men and women 

about what the machine may do to them They can be told 

that when muscle power is replaced by machine power the 
result will be an enriched opportunity for all their human 
qualities. But we must not underestimate their misgivings 
that somehow in the process they may become demeaned and 
dwarfed, serfs to a machine or an economic process. 

And yet, if we think about it, it is quite apparent that in 
this age of science and the Univac, it is human qualities that 
will count most 

Recently the president of one of Canada's strongest com- 
panies told me of his dilemma. He has 50 younger executives. 
Each one of them is well qualified in such fields as engineer- 
ing, sales, accounting, and advertising. But, he claims, not 
one of them is ready to succeed him. 


I asked him why. First of all, he said, none of them knows 
enough about public affairs, or national and international 
issues. But that is not too serious because they can all learn. 
More difficult, is that none of them has a framework or a 
scheme of values against which to cast and evaluate the 
needed knowledge. Last, and worst of all, none of them seems 
to realize that he lacks anything. 

Now I do not know if that president was being fair to his 
associates, and I have no way of knowing if this judgment 
would apply to other industries. Still, it does sharpen up what 
we are talking about. 

Clarence Francis, retired president of General Foods Cor- 
poration, once said, "You can buy a man's time, you can buy 
a man's physical presence at a given place, you can even buy 
a measured number of skilled muscular actions per hour or 
day. But you cannot buy enthusiasm, you cannot buy initia- 
tive, you cannot buy loyalty, you cannot buy the devotion of 
heart, mind, and soul. You have to earn these things." 

Is there any kind of education which will equip business 
leaders to cope with such responsibilities? 

For centuries claims have been made that education, at 
least a certain kind of education, does have such results. It is 
an education that seeks for meanings, is concerned about re- 
lationships and values, formulates principles, and solves prob- 
lems. It is usually called liberal education, or the liberal arts, or 
the humanities. 

I am not suggesting that there are no distinctions between 
these terms but they are often used loosely as synonyms to de- 
scribe a particular kind of education, the kind that Sir Arthur 
Currie, President of McGill University, was speaking about 
when he said, "The primary task of education is to make men 
alive, to send them out alive at more points, alive on higher 
levels, alive in more effective ways. The purpose of an educa- 


tion is not the mere getting of the ability to sell your efforts at a 
higher figure than unlearned men do, but to make you a thinker, 
to make you a creator, with an enlarged capacity for life." 

Let us consider this claim. Does it imply that there is no 
place for vocational or technical education? Of course not. I 
believe it was A. J. Nickerson of the Socony- Vacuum Oil 
Company, who said, "We know that when we are looking for 
men with executive ability to promote, their technical knowl- 
edge at that stage is often relatively less important than their 
ability to deal with more abstract problems involving judg- 
ment and ability to reason. There is, in fact, a sort of crossing 
of lines in this regard. While a man's technical knowledge 
may be his best tool during his first five years or so with our 
company, in many cases this curve tends to flatten out on the 
value chart and is met by the ascendant curve of the man's 
skill in human relations and other factors. ..." 

I have stated that the view about the primary place of the 
liberal arts for training mind and character has been held 
throughout the ages. But, in surprising measure, it has been 
advanced by business executives during the past five or ten 
years, and not just in talk either. Standard Oil, Ford, General 
Foods, General Electric, Bethlehem Steel, Proctor and Gamble, 
and Dupont (and I could go on and on with the list) are mak- 
ing a substantial cash contribution to liberal studies in the 
universities in addition to support afforded scientific and 
medical research 

In fact, so much has been said about the values of liberal 
education by businessmen that zealots for the liberal arts, by 
their extravagance, seem to have stirred up opponents who 
have had little difficulty demonstrating that odd bits and 
pieces of the classics, a kind of cultural cocktail made up of a 
dram of Plato, a dash of Kant, and a squirt of Beethoven, are 
not much good for anybody, let alone a busy executive. . . . 


With all respect, it seems to me that we have spent too 
much time on the wrong question. Instead of debating whether 
a liberal education provides the best training for top manage- 
ment we ought to be putting it in concrete and more modest 
terms. Under what conditions or arrangements can the lib- 
eral arts prepare executives for leadership? 

I should like to state, very tentatively, some of the condi- 
tions which I believe are necessary if we are to have the kind of 
liberal or liberating education we recognize as being necessary. 

1. The Process Is Life-Long 

Alfred P. Sloan has often declared, "Give us educated men. 
We can train them ourselves. But we cannot educate them." 
But, as Mr. Sloan understands very well, the kind of educa- 
tion he refers to is initiated, but not completed, in college 
halls. Much of what constitutes a genuine liberal education is 
just not possible for a youngster. He can read about it and 
consider the problems intellectually. But the real significance 
of much of ethics, philosophy, and drama can only come to a 
man well past his youth whose deepening experiences of fam- 
ily, vocation, and community enable him to see and feel and 
understand new relationships and begin to judge values. 

This point is elementary and obvious enough. But we have 
been rather slow in its application. Learning may and does go 
on all through life, but education denoting some plan or shap- 
ing or purpose of learning only happens if there is provision 
for it. How well equipped are our libraries, universities, trade 
associations, and voluntary organizations for continuous 
education? . . . 

In the years since the war the number of opportunities for 
mature men and women to carry on systematic liberal studies 
has increased at an accelerating rate. Some corporations and 
universities which have a far-sighted plan for the training of 


executives have acquired estates or camps so that such pro- 
grams can be conducted in residence. We are beginning to 
understand the values of residential education, where men 
share a variety of experiences with enough isolation and leisure 
to explore meanings and relationships. This was once the 
privilege of a comparative handful of undergraduates; now it 
is available to increasing numbers of men and women. This is 
a promising start, but only a start. 

2. Not Only for an Elite 

Liberal education was once the prerogative of an aristoc- 
racy. It is not surprising, then, that it is still regarded as 
something for a special few, a tiny elite of towering intellect 
and sensibility. Cynics also share this view and some of them 
speak derisively of a tiny minority of eggheads and longhairs 
standing coldly aside from the great masses of people. It is 
part of the same myth that the multitude of normal folk are 
supposed to care for nothing, or respond to nothing, but foot- 
ball games and giveaway programs. 

This is a pernicious falsehood. Of course, there are wide 
differences in people, and in their capacity and their ability 
to take part in certain activities. Moreover, if a man has never 
had any experience of the power of drama, or the beauty of 
music, or the excitement possible in the clash of ideas, it is 
little wonder that he would not choose to spend time in 
these ways. 

But once he does participate with satisfaction, he is never 
quite the same person. Those who have talked with the hum- 
blest farmers or mechanics in colonial territories about what 
will happen with the advent of self-determination and self- 
government have observed the quickening that comes to any 
man who is gripped with a large idea. 

Then there is the Shakespearean Festival held each sum- 


mer at Stratford, Canada. Was it a university that started this 
great arts festival? No. What about the elite who planned and 
managed it? A chemist, a newspaper reporter, a factory man- 
ager, a druggist, an engineer, a salesman, an accountant, two 
housewives, and a Baptist minister comprised the elite. And 
who, do you suppose, fill up the seats in the tent auditorium 
night after night to witness the plays of Shakespeare and 
Sophocles? Well, Brooks Atkinson and other critics come for 
opening night. But the rest of the season it is stenographers 
and office workers, truck drivers and shopkeepers, plumbers 
and farmers, teachers and students. These people stand pa- 
tiently in queues for seats and, after each performance, stum- 
ble out into the night shaken and stirred and bewildered and 
exhilarated by the majesty and dread of great drama. 

3, The Curriculum Must Be Relevant 

Does liberal education leave out science? Why should it? 
The history of science, the scientific attitude or scientific ethic 
must, I would think, be an important part of any liberal cur- 
riculum. So should the philosophical and ethical problems of 
modern business organization. Would you think, for example, 
that a man was liberally educated who had not pondered 
deeply over such an idea as "What's good for General Motors 
is good for the country?" 

Surely there are two misleading assumptions, as a thought- 
ful university head in England recently pointed out, that must 
be guarded against. The first is that the classics are necessarily 
of supreme value. "No one," said Eric Ashby, "denies that 
classical humanism deals with the perennially important 
issues: goodness and evil, beauty and ugliness, justice, truth; 
but there is plenty of evidence that it no longer reaches the 
bloodstream of society; and if it does not, it is impotent." 
Ashby also denies the second assumption, that technology 


itself cannot embrace the humanities. "Humanism is con- 
cerned with the creative arts of man; these include aeroplanes 
as well as Gothic churches, and textiles as well as poetry." 

Liberal or liberating education is often confounded with 
classical education. About once a year I hear a speech by 
someone who claims that the only basis for a genuine educa- 
tion is Latin, Greek and Philosophy. Somehow, I have the 
feeling that no one would oppose such a boast so strenuously 
as would Aristotle or Thomas Aquinas if they were around 
today. Such a view, it seems to me, is a profound denial and 
betrayal of all that is wisest and best in the great humane clas- 
sical tradition. It is not simply by studying the words or works 
of great men in the past that our spirits will be quickened, our 
minds stretched, and our tastes purified. The curriculum 
would hardly fail to seek health and life from the great spirits 
of the past — increasingly, I believe, from men of the Orient 
as well as of the West. But it is not antiquity that is important, 
but the breadth and depth and intensity of the experience; 
where it leads to, not its point of origin. 

4. The Methods Must Be Suitable 

No adult ought to put up with shabby, threadbare lec- 
tures. A liberal education means to open up the mind, not 
seal it tight with drab formulas or a "closed circuit system" of 
ideas. The adult student ought to participate, to try out ideas, 
to test hypotheses, to judge and dissent. There is no code of 
truth to be memorized; there are experiences to be tasted 
and tested. 

Some of the teaching methods worked out in courses of 
business administration ought to have just as much validity in 
the liberal arts. My field of teaching is not philosophy, but if 
it were I am sure I would frequently employ the case method. 
One can almost picture Socrates, with a glint in his eye, 


plunging into the consideration of ethics and morals as ex- 
hibited in an incident or case, 

5. A Place for the Arts 

No truly liberating education can be limited to verbal or 
mathematical symbols. We ought to recall one judgment from 
the Harvard Report, "Precisely because they wear the warmth 
and color of the senses, the arts are probably the strongest and 
deepest of all educative forces." Emotions are of vital im- 

I have a suspicion that all of us may assent to this, perhaps 
even quote it on some pertinent occasions, but do little or 
nothing about its implications. 

It is true that industry is giving encouragement to the arts. 
And they have done so on the only basis that the artist finds 
acceptable — by bringing the artist in as a co-worker to create 
things of beauty and utility for the company. 

Despite this fact I have the feeling that many of us are still 
a little distrustful of those things that call forth a deep emo- 
tional response, as if there was something a little shameful 
about it. Many of us boast about our fishing or golf prowess 
but might be rather careful to whom we would confide the 
information that we had spent a weekend sketching or sing- 
ing with a choral group. However, we ought to be grateful for 
gains in this respect in recent years. 

6. Not as a Gimmick 

Like you, I have had men ask me, "Will a particular 
course produce better salesmen?" I have had to reply that I 
did not know and that there could be no assurance that it 
would. Men who will seriously take part in a course of liberal 
studies will probably be more alert, more thoughtful and 
more sensitive to people and things around them. In the long 


run, I believe this is good for business. But the mere reading of 
Plato's Republic will not push up anyone's sale's graph. We 
need to be honest, and modest, about educational accom- 

I come now to a condition which is not easy to state al- 
though I am convinced of its validity. Let me put it bluntly. 
The liberal studies have little power for good unless you are 
ready to accept them on their own terms. One cannot make 
of them a gimmick, a trick or a device. It is rather like the old 
fables where the magic would only work for those who had 
faith. In the same way, the liberal studies have power only 
when approached by the pure in heart. I mean by those who 
seek them for their intrinsic ends, judgment, values, under- 
standing — and not as a talisman or union card necessary for 
executive promotion. 

7. No Crude Simplifications 

In the past 25 years many laudable attempts have been 
made to simplify, condense, or make material more interest- 
ing or readable. One result is that pamphlets and annual 
reports are, on the whole, vastly improved. But some ideas 
are not simple and they cannot be comprehended without 
effort. Attempts to primerize always seem to be condescend- 
ing, to talk down, and to present half-truths and distortions. 

Recently a booklet arrived from England with a warning 
printed on the cover. It read: "There is nothing in this book- 
let which most men and women cannot understand. But the 
subject is sufficiently difficult that you will be obliged to read 
carefully and thoughtfully. If you are not prepared to do this 
there is little point in your going further." 

Surprising or not this approach seems to have achieved an 
excellent response. Most people can and will give attention if 
they believe that the effort is worthwhile. They have no pa- 


tience with needless obscurity, but they do not want to be 
babied either. They are able to brook more complexity than 
is characterized by the early television movies (alas still with 
us) when every hero was shown astride a white horse while all 
the "bad guys" are riding on brown or black horses. 

The Costs 

There is a cost to this? Of course. You would rightly ques- 
tion it, and be suspicious, if there were none. 

The Jirst cost is dollars. 

The second cost is imagination. 

The third cost is hospitality to differences. We must re- 
member that the products of a genuinely liberal education 
will not all look, or talk, or think alike. If you give human 
beings a chance to grow you can never predict the outcome. 
If men are deeply stirred they will respond in ways that may 
seem wonderful, curious, alarming, or grotesque. 

Of course, if we hate or fear difference, if we cannot brook 
dissent, if we are certain that all the right answers are already 
known, then let us eschew liberal education for the enemy it 
is. But perhaps we ought to remind ourselves that the quali- 
ties of many, perhaps most, of the men who have most influ- 
enced our era were not readily identified. 

A former president of the Rockefeller Foundation used to 
ask himself regularly once a week if he would have seen the 
potential promise and would have been willing to support the 
young Pasteur when he was struggling away in his early gar- 
ret laboratory. Being certain about other kinds of excellence 
in the early crude stages is even more difficult. But if we can 
bear to work alongside a man who does or says or thinks un- 
usual things, if we can tolerate or even relish association with 
those who question some of our assumptions, all of us may 
learn something. 


Social Innovation 

Peter F. Drucker 

Among the major innovations of the past ten or fifteen years, only 
one can even remotely be called an innovation in product or pro- 
ductive process. That is the development of systematic and organ- 
ized methods of materials handling. Otherwise, in their aggregate, 
the basically non-technological innovations have had a greater 
impact on the American economy, and have contributed more to 
the increase in productivity in this country, than all technological 
innovations of the past ten or fifteen years. In the long view of his- 
tory, it is for social inventions — and not technical ones — that 
Americans may be best remembered. 

During the period ahead, in any event, the greatest need for 
innovation seems more likely to lie in the social than in the tech- 
nological area. Indeed, the technological revolution itself will be 
totally unproductive unless it is accompanied by major innovations 
in the non- technological field. Among them, above all, is again 
innovation in marketing. Equally badly needed are innovations in 
methods, tools, and measurements for doing the managerial job in 
the modern enterprise, large or small; for the development of com- 
petence, skill, and imagination among managers (still considered 
a luxury by many companies) is probably the greatest necessity 
any business, let alone the economy, faces. Finally, the need is for 
effective innovation in the management of workers and in the 
organization of work; despite the progress in this area, it may well 
be the most backward sphere, and the one with the greatest poten- 
tial for increased productivity. 

Compared to electronics, rocket engines, or synthetic chem- 
istry, these are unglamorous subjects. They are rarely discussed 
except by professional managers, and not as often as they should 
be, even so. Yet our success at innovating in these four areas may 
well decide whether the population revolution, which has already 


taken place, will be an opportunity for further growth and strength, 
or whether it will prove a strain, a burden, and perhaps even a 
threat to social and economic stability. 


(Harper & Brothers, New Tork, 1955). 


The Free Individual 
and the Free Society 


One evening recently my children dragged our dog — aging, 
fat, philosophical Radish — into what is humorously called 
"Daddy's Study" to watch the TV program "Rin Tin Tin." 
They couldn't understand why he did not respond: He had 
no "felt need" for Rin Tin Tin. Later I tried to explain. I 
began with the paradox that to be is not to be — to be one 
thing is to not be another. I told what little I know about dog 
thought — how Radish could not conceive the images. I was 
about to proceed to human thought, but Susan turned on the 
radio. "He's Rin Tin Tin the fifth," she said. Since I was not 
able to tell my children about human thought, I am going 
to tell you. 

The movement in modern thought is unmistakably toward 
relatedness: relating the part and the whole without the neg- 
lect of either; relating form and process; relating differences 
and commonalities; relating thought and emotion, and dif- 
ferent kinds of thought such as analytical and intuitive. 

Many pieces of driftwood show the current. There are new 
joint words such as "biochemistry," "psychosomatic," "social 
psychology." There are new blanket words such as "ecology." 
New meanings are given to old words such as "form," "pat- 
tern," "process." There is the attempt to state universal hu- 
man rights. There is a groping for the idea which will serve 
for our time the purpose that natural law served in the 
Middle Ages and the Renaissance. 

Because of the nature of modern thought, we must regard 


developing ideas as provisional and tentative. "This too shall 
pass away." But each generation must address itself to the 
task in hand, and the task of our generations is to relate. 

I illustrate with two familiar dualisms of ideas: "matter 
versus life" and "body versus mind." 

Intuitively we have a deep uneasiness about the supposed 
dualism between matter and life. How many times have we, 
in reflection, raised up our eyes to the mountains! There we 
have seen the snows, which, melting, nourish the trees, which 
bear the fruits, which give us the strength to start a new day. 
How many times have we, in this thin atmosphere, caught 
our breath sharply — and then used that breath to utter 
immortal thoughts! 

In analytical thought, too, we are becoming increasingly 
dissatisfied by the dualism between matter and life. One 
reason — to go no farther — is that it must now be recognized 
that we have no fundamental knowledge of either. Two 
stories, to illustrate — one about a constituent of matter, the 
other about the values of life. 

A professor of physics asked a student, "What is elec- 
tricity?" The student puzzled, then replied: "I did know, but 
I forgot." The professor smote his brow. "My God! The only 
man who ever knew what electricity is has forgotten!" 

In 1 939, James Conant, then president of Harvard, was 
called to Washington to help judge the possibilities of nuclear 
fission. He told his vice president that he would be gone a 
long time, that he could not tell why, and that he could be 
called only on matters of the highest importance. Weeks 
passed. One day, during a report on a crucial experiment, a 
guard whispered to Mr. Conant that his vice president was 
calling. Mr. Conant, reflecting that he had not been called 
previously, concluded that matter of the highest importance 
had arisen. During a "break" he returned the call. He heard 


the voice of the vice president, trembling with excitement: 
"Mr. Conant, Harvard has just acquired a Gutenberg Bible!" 

We have no fundamental knowledge about either matter 
or life, but we do know a great deal more about both than we 
used to know. It is strange indeed to depreciate life rather 
than exalt it when, through living mind, we make advances in 
understanding. We don't know how much we can or cannot 
understand. But even the awareness of our ignorance can be 
an instrument in the increase of understanding. 

Now, "body versus mind." We are finding out more about 
how chemicals affect mental states. ("Malt does more than 
Milton can /To justify God's ways to man.") But we are find- 
ing out also how mental states affect the internal production 
of chemicals. 

We are probing searchingly into the irrationally conscious, 
the partially conscious, the subconscious and the unconscious. 
So far these insights have been used mainly with the regard 
to sickness. But we are also learning a great deal more about 
the wellsprings of life that feed the rivers of spontaneity and 

The discovery and exploration of the unconscious and the 
irrational are achievements of conscious rationality. It is 
strange indeed that a triumph of the rational should result in 
a depreciation of the rational. Again, we don't know how 
much we can or cannot understand, but even the awareness 
of our ignorance can be an instrument in the increase of 

I will speak now of the individual and society, and then of 
freedom and responsibility. 

I say the individual and the society, in relationship, aban- 
doning dualism, although I will be dealing at times with the 
contrarieties and paradoxes. 

There are contrary tendencies in nature. In one direction 


there is the ceaseless flight of "time's arrow," which cannot 
return to the bow: entropy, the diffusion of high concentra- 
tions of energy to lower and wider distribution; the dissolu- 
tion of organization to disorganization. The rays which have 
warmed us this week have been party to the cooling of the 
sun; the rains which have refreshed us are washing the soil 
down to the sea; the tumbled rocks which have charmed us 
are the destruction of the mountains. 

In the other direction there is a tendency from disorder 
toward order, because of instability, imperfection, incomple- 
tion. Photons become particles, which become atoms, which 
become compounds, which make complex formations such as 
crystals, acids and proteins. With proteins we are on the 
threshold of life, but we cannot with certainty draw a line to 
define the point of passing. 

Here is the paradox: the sun must shine, the rain must 
rain, the rocks must disintegrate, in order that life may be 
and be sustained and evolve; but the forces of dissolution 
work ceaselessly also on the organization that is life. 

The difference between life and non-life is that life has 
purpose — its purpose: to live, to grow, to reproduce, to fulfill 
itself. An example, taken from The Biology of the Spirit, by 
E. W. Sinnot, 1 is the white pine. The branches of a young 
white pine grow at first straight up, then open and continue 
upward at about 70 degrees from the trunk. If these branches 
are tied so that they are held up or down, they will grow for a 
time as they are compelled, but then they will resume their 
wonted angle. And we know nothing about the regulatory 
force which controls this. 

Living things have purposes. Are not machines also said 
to have purposes? This is a trick of words. Living things have 
their own purposes. Machines have the "purposes" that men 
1 Viking Press, 1955. 


build into them. Whoever heard, asks Joseph Wood Krutch, 
of an electronic "brain" laughing at itself? I ask further, can 
you imagine a computer criticizing and evaluating itself? 

Are the purposes of living things the design of some greater 
mind? This we do not know, nor again do we know how much 
we can or cannot understand. But the awareness of our igno- 
rance chastens analytic thinking and gives scope to intuitive 

An organism has purposes inner to itself. It lives in the 
"outside" — its environment. To seek its purposes the organ- 
ism must "know" its environment. The roots of a tree must 
"know" how to find or make passages between the rocks 
through which they can seek food and drink. Both organisms 
and their environment are parts of a larger reality. 

Life advances to more complex organization through evo- 
lution. Evolution is the process of discovering larger and larger 
purposes by means of a series of inventions. The human being 
is an anthology of such inventions — the internal skeleton, the 
lungs, the circulatory system, the eye, the hand, the brain. 

The development is from life which is unconscious, to life 
which is conscious but not aware of itself, to life which is con- 
scious and aware of its consciousness. On a walk yesterday 
morning I stood and stared a long time at a tree. A tree is 
alive but it is not conscious. What would it be like to be a 
tree? (It must be like being in the womb.) Later I stared 
across a fence at a horse. A horse is alive and conscious but is 
not aware. What would it be like to be a horse? (It must be 
like being one year old.) The mature human being is alive 
and conscious and aware of his consciousness. 

Because of this awareness, man has invented a new type of 
evolution — one which for his purposes frees him from the need 
for further organic evolution. He can make machines do for 
him what he would otherwise need radical biological changes 


to do. If he wants to fly, he does not grow wings: he invents 
the airplane. If he wants to dive deep in the ocean, he does 
not revert to gills and change his internal pressures: he in- 
vents the submarine. And he can put on and take off these 
inventions at will — he is not limited by them. For again, to be 
is not to be — to be something is not to be something else. 
Man can adopt and slough off the advantages of specialized 
organic developments while he himself remains unspecialized, 
unhampered by the disadvantages of wings, gills, overdevel- 
oped muscles or formidable jaw. 

We don't know that organic evolution has stopped in man. 
But we do know that he has reached a plateau upon which 
for his purposes he needs no more. He holds in his hands and 
in his mind the direction of his future evolution. 

This is a freedom like springing into the air; a responsibility 
like plunging into the deep. However evolution may work 
(through randomness, as some think, or through divine plan, 
as do others), it does not work automatically or sentimentally 
in the service of man's wants. Certainly we cannot count on 
any automatic or "benevolent" protection from our own 
meanness or folly in the period when man is directing his evo- 
lution. The most unsentimental thing in nature is nature 
itself. The other day, speaking of economics, Anthony Eden 
reminded the British people that there is no international wel- 
fare state. Neither is there a cosmic welfare state. If man can 
direct the course of his own evolution, he can also bring about 
his own extinction. Homo Sapiens has probably not yet sur- 
vived as long as did other kinds of "homines" whose branches 
have already died. 

Man holds in his hands and in his mind the direction of 
his own evolution. Only individual human beings have hands 
and minds. The individual is the organism. But the individual's 
ecology is culture, and his most important environment is 


human society. Culture is the individual's ecology because 
the human being is almost bereft of instinct; of all animal life, 
he has the longest period of dependency; he must learn almost 
everything; he can learn enormously; he can learn a great 
many things and in a great many ways; and he learns always 
in and through a particular culture. Society is the individual's 
most important environment, because for the fulfillment of 
his purposes he needs the cooperation of other human beings. 
This is so even in his dealings with physical nature. It is so in a 
higher and more subtle way in the realization of his emotional, 
mental and spiritual purposes. Here we approach the issue 
of the individual and the society. 

The basic invention of evolution was that of the many- 
celled organism. This made possible specialization of parts 
and functions, with a discovery of larger purposes and a 
greater "knowledge" of environment in the achievement of 

One consequence is death. Death entered the world with 
the many-celled organism. The single-celled organism repro- 
duces by division. Two cells resulting from a division are at 
the same time one another's mother, daughter and other self. 
One individual cell or many individual cells may die, but the 
protoplasm is immortal, in a terrestrial sense. But when, in a 
many-celled organism, the whole is dependent upon the func- 
tioning of specialized parts (skin, kidney, heart), the destruc- 
tion of an essential part means the disorganization of the 
organism. Death is the price we pay for the complexity which 
makes consciousness possible. For this gift, death is a small 
price to pay. 

Another consequence is greater variety. A single cell in 
division reproduces exact "descendants." With the mating of 
many-celled organisms, the result is an exchange of and an 
addition to genetic possibilities. This reaches its highest point 


in man. J. N. Spuhler estimates that there are between 20,000 
and 42,000 gene-loci in the human chromosomes. Taking 
30,000 as an average, two individuals coming together open 
up genetic possibilities in the number of two raised to the 
thirty- thousandth power. Weston La Barre 2 has written, "... 
all the human beings who have ever lived . . . have not 
scratched the surface of possible gene combinations in Homo 
Sapiens" Consider this incredible number. Consider the dif- 
ferent experiences that condition individuals. Consider the 
different reactions which individuals have even to the same 
experience. The individual — each individual — is literally a 
unique person. 

About the age of two a tremendous development comes 
about in the human being. It is an identity of self. I know a 
three-year-old girl named Susan. I mistakenly called her Sally 
the other day. She was fiercely angry at me and troubled. She 
seemed to feel that in giving her the wrong name I was 
threatening to rob her of her identity. 

The growth of this identity of self has an inner and outer 
expression. Inwardly it is an opening awareness, discovery 
and understanding of self — the "I." Outwardly it is the ability 
to relate to other human beings — the "Thou." The self is the 
organizing function by means of which the individual can 
relate himself to others: to "see himself as others see him"; to 
see himself in others, through empathy, sympathy, compas- 
sion; to discover common humanity; to find and live in 
the "We." 

The ruthless forces of entropy — of dissolution — work cease- 
lessly on the physical organism. Whether they work also 
(short of senescence and death) upon the mind and person- 

2 The Human Animal, the University of Chicago Press, 1954, p. 97. La Barre 
refers to Spuhler, same page. Spuhler's paper is "On the Number of Genes 
in Man," Science GVIII (1948), pp. 279-80. 


ality, depends on whether one takes command of the develop- 
ment of awareness. 

The development of awareness is neither automatic nor 
random. It depends, first, on the individual himself, his vig- 
ilance, self-discipline, affirmation and effort; second, on the 
possibilities within the cultural ecology and the social environ- 
ment. Now I turn to society. 

In one sense the society is an abstraction, just as the 
"group" is an abstraction. Society is not an organism. The 
individual is not a cell in a system, the way our blood cor- 
puscles are cells in the human organism. Only individual hu- 
man beings feel, think, dream, plan and relate. In another 
sense society is a reality. It is a reality because human beings 
are the environment of each; because the idea of society is in 
the minds of individuals; because they must work together in 
order to cope with nature; because they need one another in 
order to realize their unique human selves and their common 

At one and the same time individuals are each other's 
environment and are fellow human beings. The question is, 
which relationship is acted upon? Do they regard one another 
as "things" in an environment to be used for selfish purposes 
or as subordinate cells to be sacrificed for a social organism? 
Or do they regard one another as fellow human beings, their 
own "I's," our "Thou's," fellows in our common "We"? 
These questions introduce the related ideas of freedom and 

Man is conditioned by his environment, physical and so- 
cial. But, actually or potentially, he is aware that he is being 
conditioned. This awareness is the embryo of freedom. Be- 
tween the stimulus and the response "falls the shadow." He 
can pause in this shadow and throw his weight in behalf of 
one response and against another. He can not only count to 


ten, but he can "count ten." Even more, he, alone and with 
others, can create the circumstances which produce the stimuli 
he desires to respond to. The more self-awareness a person 
has, the greater is his capacity to break the chain that binds 
response to stimuli, to create stimuli, and to create the stimuli 
he prefers. The more self-awareness that is shared by indi- 
viduals, the greater their capacity to do this with and for 
one another. 

A responsible person is one who acts (and in our responsible 
moments we do act) with regard to the wholeness and com- 
plexity of his own nature and the nature of everything. An 
irresponsible person is one who follows (and in our irrespon- 
sible moments we do follow) a minor impulse or potentiality 
at the expense of the richness and complexity of his total being. 

Freedom and responsibility are two ends of the same staff, 
and a staff cannot have one end only. Melville (who did not 
share the optimism of the 19th Century) wrote "Freedom is 
that which is not free," meaning free to be capricious or 
malignant. We are free only to do what we ought to do. But 
we must be free in order to discover the "ought." And to dis- 
cover, we must explore. To explore is to get lost and err. But 
to err is oftentimes to learn. Indeed, error, reflected upon, is 
the greatest teacher. On the other end, responsibility has no 
meaning in a moral sense if one is not free to make choices, 
the wrong ones as well as the right. 

A free society relates freedom and responsibility; a society 
which is not free tries to separate them and destroys both. 

A free society does not require conformity. Indeed, it can- 
not, because the capacity to relate to others depends on the 
discovery of self, and each self is unique. To use a mechanical 
analogy, the equilibrium of a free society depends to a great 
extent on the inclusion of opposites. To use a biological anal- 
ogy, the potentialities and actualities of social life are invigo- 


rated and widened by the exchange of individuality. We can- 
not often be sure which maverick is merely a fool or a pest or 
a danger, and which is the bringer of great gifts. Even when 
we think we are sure, we should remember that the hair shirt 
of individuality (like death for awareness) is the price we pay 
for a free society — a price we should gladly pay. 

We should resist efforts to make us conform against our 
sense of individuality. But equally we should resist the tempta- 
tion to force others to conform against theirs. This is a subtle 
thing. In archy and mehitabel there is the song of a worm being 
swallowed by a bird. At first he objects. But soon he cries, 
"I am beginning to think like the bird!" We are most in dan- 
ger of losing our own individuality when we conspire with 
those who are like us against those who are different from us. 

A free society has been described as one which has shared 
purposes, shared power and shared respect. A free society has 
been called an open society. It is, rather, an opening society, 
like a spiral inviting the infinite possibilities of man. 

All the human race is today the social environment of each 
human being. The free society of the United States is today in 
competition with the closed, if not closing, society of the Soviet 
Union. This is a much more serious competitor than was 
Nazi Germany. It appeals to the real concept of the human 
race, not the spurious concept of a national race. It wears the 
smile of benevolence. It has recently challenged us to com- 
pete in helping other peoples improve, construct and advance, 
and to prove our intentions by domestic example. We must 
indeed have lost faith in ourselves if we fear this kind of com- 
petition. Which system, despite our imperfections, is really 
based on a belief in the individual on the one hand and the 
human race on the other? Which knows better how to solve 
the problems of production, both of food and machines? 
Which can help others to solve these problems without en- 


toiling them? All we need to do so is to care enough to join 
fully in the competition and to recover our confidence suffi- 
ciently to do so with enjoyment. 

Returning to the United States in 1907, over-delicate, 
queasy Henry Adams wrote to his sister: "Curiosity is fairly 
fascinated by the sense of the immensity of the chance, and 
by the sense that the whole of the chance has been taken." In 
adopting self-government as our ideal and in extending suf- 
frage to all adults, the American people have taken the whole 
chance. We can't "cash in" or "hedge our bets." We've got to 
win. But we are in a game which never ends. It doesn't even 
keep the same stakes. The stakes increase. Walt Whitman, 
who did share the optimism of the 1 9th Century, nevertheless 
saw this. He wrote: 

"Have past struggles succeeded? 

"What has succeeded: yourself? your nation? nature? 

"Now understand me well — it is provided in the essence of things 
that from any fruition of success, no matter what, shall come 
something to make a greater struggle necessary." 

Problem-solving therefore is not enough. The solution of 
one problem creates more than one and probably larger prob- 
lems. Life's invention of the many-celled organism solved 
many problems — and created others. The genetic invention 
of man's brain solved many problems and created more. We 
cannot and should not hope to eliminate problems. That would 
be death. But we can hope to raise them to a higher level or to 
advance to larger problems. For the essence of life is purpose, 
and the process of life is the discovery of larger purposes 
through inventions. The most significant invention for man is 
his invention of a new type of evolution in which he is free 
through his mind to direct his future evolution. 

Liberal education is education for the responsible use of 
that freedom. 


In the human organism, the only cells which do not spe- 
cialize and therefore lose some capacities at the price of gain- 
ing others are the genes. They can reproduce the whole per- 
son, and each person a unique person. One of man's distinc- 
tions from other animals is that he has never become so spe- 
cialized as to become helpless with a change of environment. 
He invents special aids; he develops special functions. But he is 
able to put off these special tools as he wishes and return or 
advance to his general capacities. 

Liberal education has relevance for all special functions of 
man, but, in itself, it is a return to or, better, an advancement 
to our common humanity. Liberal education is the effort to 
discover the larger purposes which distinguish man. Liberal 
education is the effort to prepare man to fulfill these larger 

Liberal education is concerned, not with thinkers as such 
or books as such, but with important issues: issues like non- 
life and life, life and death, space and time, form and process, 
justice and injustice, equality and inequality, freedom and 
responsibility, the individual and the society. Who is not con- 
cerned about such issues as these? Who is not capable at some 
level of wrestling with them? Who cannot be helped by a 
familiarity with the best that has been thought about these 
issues? Who would not profit by an orderly exchange of 
thoughts on them with others? 

These are the most useful thoughts man can think — pro- 
vided usefulness is defined largely enough, and provided that 
life and man are regarded as ends in themselves. For they are 
addressed to the purpose of human life, which is to fulfill itself, 
both as a unique individual and as a unique species. The diffi- 
culty does not lie in the issues. It lies in how they are put and 
in the lack of education or the miseducation of individuals to 
grapple with them. 


The Cultivation of the Mind 


The ultimate test of any intellectual discipline is not what it 
does for others, but what it achieves within the life of the par- 
ticular individual. The cultivation of the mind and the illumi- 
nation of the spirit are ends in themselves and bring their own 
rewards. Education is too precious a thing to be measured by 
a money index. Obviously it is important that each of us 
know how to make a living, but that is not the ultimate pur- 
pose of life itself. Far more important than the making of the 
living, is the living of the life; and the highest aim of all 
education must be to make life richer and fuller. As the man 
grows within himself, his company gains, and society gains, 
but it is that inner growth which must be the end sought. 

Why do I believe that a liberal education fulfills this pur- 
pose more effectively than specialized training? 

First of all, study of the humanities brings home to each of 
us the importance of creating a personal philosophy and trains 
us in the processes for achieving that end. 

By personal philosophy I mean a scale of values which we 
ourselves consciously establish for the control of our conduct, 
and a motivation to which we respond. 

Life would be drab and meaningless if a man did not set 
for himself certain goals, and commit himself to some method 
for keeping score. Much of his efforts would otherwise be 
wasted. We need to know what we seek to accomplish with 
our lives; we need to establish principles to which we will give 
complete loyalty in the fulfillment of our purposes. Making 
the most from life requires that each of us bring to the fullest 


development those talents with which he is endowed at birth, 
and this cannot be done without purposes and standards. 

This endowment of natural gifts varies among men. We 
cannot therefore pattern our conduct solely by reference to 
others; we must rather by reflection and self- analysis assess 
our own capabilities and consciously determine how best to 
employ them. Thus only do we live worthily. 

The establishment in one's life of such a personal philos- 
ophy can scarcely be advanced by the pursuit of technology. 
What is involved here is the whole study of man, and we 
advance our own self-analysis and our own thinking about 
ourselves by studying the similar processes of mind of those 
who have gone before. 

We turn to history to learn of the accomplishments and 
the failures of others. We turn to literature and poetry because 
in them man has expressed his highest ideals and his deepest 
tragedies. We turn to the formal study of philosophy to learn 
with humility how the great minds of the ages have endeav- 
ored to analyze for all men the very problems with which each 
of us struggles. We turn to religion for the inspiration and 
guidance that come from glimpsing the relationship of the 
individual to the infinite and the unchanging. 

Once a man recognizes the urgency of establishing in his 
own life a guiding philosophy, he recognizes that he is engaged 
in a lifetime project. The liberal arts student who has chosen 
his courses wisely may have a head start over his contempo- 
raries who have chosen the intellectual disciplines of the spe- 
cialties, but the best of preparation for living can be hardly 
more than the beginning. Life is a succession of challenges to 
one's scale of values, and we grow by test and adjustment. 

For this purpose we need a continuing and orderly inter- 
change of ideas with those about us, through which, as we 
explore their minds, we reassess our own thinking. 


This is not easy to achieve in modern life. The art of good 
conversation, for example, is dying out among us. Business- 
men particularly live their lives at too mad a pace for the 
reflective processes to flourish; and, even under such oppor- 
tunities as persist, our habits inhibit the vigorous interchange 
of thinking which characterized those earlier and slower days 
of our forefathers. 

Even our recreations are stylized. Impressions come to us 
from without instead of being generated from within. Just as 
we tend to abandon physical exercise in favor of spectator 
sport, so we tend to abandon intellectual exercise in favor of 
the presentation of ideas by mechanical means. Each advance 
in the technology of the visual aids tends to soften our capacity 
to think for ourselves. 

We businessmen take few pauses during the day for think- 
ing on subjects of general interest. We either grab a sandwich 
at our desk without interrupting our work, or dash somewhere 
for lunch for the sole purpose of talking shop. Instead of dis- 
persing into the community at noon, we establish executive 
dining rooms where we always see the same people. Inbreed- 
ing, therefore, is common in corporate management. At 
home our wives fear the impact of general conversation at 
social gatherings, and resort to some form of group activity 
that will not disclose the general incapacity for participating 
in stimulating conversation. Those who can talk are frus- 
trated by those who refuse to listen. 

One reason why the art of conversation is disappearing is 
that those who are specialists by education or employment 
tend to raise barriers among us. Frequently they are eloquent 
on their specialty and silent on all else. Good conversation 
requires common substance, on which all people are in- 
formed, and to which all can make a contribution by original 


The only antidote to this is general education. If our com- 
plex modern society is to retain any semblance of homo- 
geneity, all men must continuously strive so to cultivate their 
minds and broaden their outlooks that we may have common 
ground at the intellectual level for the interchange of ideas. 

Just as good private conversation is entering into a period 
of decadence, so is vigorous public debate of the great issues of 
the day. That field has been taken over by a few professionals, 
and abandoned by the amateurs. Newspaper columnists and 
radio and television commentators do our debating for us, 
and few indeed are the businessmen who make important 
contributions to the forming of public opinion. 

Among those who are articulate it will be found that the 
great majority had their training in the liberal arts. It takes 
an exceptional man indeed to develop late in life a talent for 
the forming of public opinion if his undergraduate training 
was spent in the laboratories, and if his adult life has been 
devoted to engineering or scientific pursuits. Many men who 
come to substantial business responsibility from the technical 
disciplines sense urgently the importance of being able to make 
their opinions felt, but sense it too late in their lives. A few by 
sheer will power achieve competence regardless of the years, 
but most find that learning to write and speak English effec- 
tively for the first time at middle life is like trying then to learn 
their first foreign language. 

Yet many are the subjects on which we desperately need 
both private conversation and public debate in order to dis- 
charge our responsibilities as citizens. Nothing could be more 
urgent than our need to improve our understanding of the 
American way of life, and its chances of survival in a diffi- 
cult world. 

Chief among the subjects that need discussion and debate 
is the concept of freedom. 


Daily this precious word passes our lips, yet few there are 
who could put into a crisp paragraph their concept of what 
freedom means. It is solely because we do not fully understand 
freedom that we sometimes fail to recognize limitations on 
freedom until great damage has been done. For the same 
reason we often ignore abuses of freedom. 

For example, I have always felt that freedom should be 
expressed in dynamic terms. It is not a negative concept. 
Freedom is doing. To express this greatest of human ideas as 
freedom from something is a negative approach. If disease or 
poverty or some unfortunate circumstance is removed from 
the life of an individual, that is a definite good; but still it is 
not freedom, unless, after the condition is removed, that in- 
dividual exercises his talents to do something of positive bene- 
fit for mankind. To be able to do something worthwhile and 
then to fail to make the effort cannot be real freedom. 

I have heard it said that our great modern advance in 
technology has brought great advance in freedom, but I doubt 
that hypothesis. On the contrary, in many respects our new 
technology has inhibited freedom. Take, for example, the 
electronic listening device by which an operator a half mile 
away can listen in on a private conversation. Surely persons 
conversing with candor, because they believe themselves to be 
alone, are less free than if they were not spied upon. 

And let us not forget that the Declaration of Independence, 
the Bill of Rights, and the Gettysburg Address, in which are 
embodied some of the noblest concepts of freedom yet framed 
by man, were conceived without the aid of technology. 

I find no relationship between technology and freedom, 
but believe rather that the advancement of the concept of 
liberty rests entirely upon the cultivation of the mind and the 
spirit of man through the processes of general education. 

Let me turn now to the impact on society of the inner 


growth of which I have spoken. What are its outward mani- 

First of all, the man whose horizons have been widened 
and sensibilities aroused by the exciting processes of liberal 
education senses a continuing obligation to the community 
about him. He is aware that education is a great privilege 
which brings correlative responsibilities, and he seeks to fulfill 
this obligation by entering fully into all phases of his com- 
munity life. 

This was the tragedy of the Middle Ages. Individual schol- 
ars in that period of history often reached great heights of 
erudition, but they were filled with fear and disgust by the 
world about them. They, therefore, withdrew from society 
and carried on their scholarly endeavors in solitude. As a con- 
sequence the world which needed their light slipped further 
and further into darkness. 

Today the broadly educated man must live worthily, or he 
denies his heritage. 

For those of us whose lives are spent in the service of cor- 
porations, this means that it is our obligation to see that they, 
too, live worthily. 

The full significance of the corporation as an effective in- 
strumentality of modern society is not fully evaluated by most 

In my view, its contribution to the present standards of life 
in our country is so unique that it might almost be regarded 
as synonymous with our level of civilization. 

The genius of the corporation is that it provides a medium 
by which the savings of the many may safely and effectively 
be put to work voluntarily under the management of the few. 
This process has now gone so far in our country that in many 
publicly owned institutions the number of stockholders equals 
the number of employees. 


No task is too great for some of our American companies. 
No plan is too bold, no requirement of capital too great for 
them to undertake, if the projects are rewarding. 

Backward countries lack this working tool. They have no 
tradition of the pooling of individual savings for a common 
task, other than through government. They have no under- 
standing of the equity form of ownership; on the contrary, 
they have great aversion toward permitting others to manage 
their affairs. As a consequence, the individual citizen who is 
thrifty has no recourse but to invest his savings in tangible 
purchases which he can watch. 

For this reason initiative languishes, small industry does 
not start, and the State becomes the sole source of capital. 

The power to control the lives of the citizens thus stands 
ready for the dictator. Freedom yields to economic power for 
lack of what is a common working tool with us, and the few 
may at any time dominate the mass. 

No invention of modern times has contributed more to our 
well-being than this Anglo-Saxon concept of voluntary col- 
lective ownership based on limited liability. 

The day has passed, however, when the corporation may 
be thought of merely as a legal entity. It is now also an instru- 
mentality for social progress, and the management which is 
entrusted with the material well-being of the stockholders must 
be thought of also as the custodian of the collective social 
responsibility of the owners. 

This is achieved through people. The corporation partici- 
pates in the life of the community only through the lives of 
those who act for it. There is no other means by which it may 
express itself except through the community leadership which 
the men who are its officers provide in its behalf. 

This is possible only because the time when the emphasis 
was solely upon the legal entity as such has passed. No longer 


does that terrifying phrase ultra vires stand as a bulwark for 
cupidity, and prevent Boards of Directors from doing the 
things which, as human beings, they know they ought to do. 

It is now everywhere recognized that the survival of the 
corporation and the survival of the nation are inseparable; 
that the welfare of the community from which the corporation 
draws its profits is a matter of immediate and daily concern to 
the stockholders. 

The man of broad education senses this and, without for a 
moment slackening his effort for the production of goods and 
services at a profit for his institution, does all that he can for 
the social advancement of the society about him. 

His opportunities for thus expressing the good citizenship 
of his company are infinite, as varying and appealing as the 
needs of the community itself. He takes a hand in education, 
in the administering of the social agencies of his community, 
in the development of sound political thinking and good gov- 
ernment, in recreation and the care of youth, and in all of the 
other varying manifestations of modern social life. 

He knows that free enterprise itself is on test everywhere, 
even in our own country, and that the proponents both of 
Socialism and Communism offer to the underprivileged the 
prospect that their welfare will be better served under their 
way of life than under ours. In fact, the corporation is a sym- 
bol of their attack on the capitalists' way of life, and they em- 
ploy our concept of the legal entity as the symbol of selfishness, 
rather than as the symbol of service. 

In addition, the new challenge of liberal education, as it 
finds expression through the lives of those who serve corporate 
enterprises, is to lift the eyes of the businessman so that he 
may see the world as an integrated whole, and not merely 
limit his sights to our national borders. 

Patriotism is one of the oldest virtues, but love of our own 


country need not imply hatred of others. Intense nationalism, 
which in recent years has had such an important development 
in many nations, is the antithesis of true patriotism, and the 
task of education is to bring more men to see this. 

Few American citizens today have endeavored in their 
own minds to think through the question of just what should 
be the end purpose of American policy with respect to other 
nations, yet the welfare of our children and grandchildren 
may well depend upon how well we answer that question. 

Two great wars have been fought in my lifetime. I believed 
that both were fought for the preservation of democracy. If 
that be true, then it would seem desirable to try to advance 
the cause of democracy by the methods of peace. 

Yet will we accept the same burden for the advancement 
of our ideals in peacetime that we courageously assume in 
time of war? Military sacrifice we accept with pride and resig- 
nation, but the same causes seem to lose their glamor when 
the bands stop playing. 

Surely our own democratic way of life will be more secure 
for the generations to follow if we are surrounded by countries 
that likewise practice democracy, than if the world is domi- 
nated by despots; but the sense of urgency leaves us when the 
knife is not at our throats. 

Following the last war, the American people accepted the 
great burden of the Marshall Plan, solely on the basis that 
their military security was thus advanced. In dealing with the 
problems of reconstruction in Europe, we neither sought gra- 
titude, nor received it at times. We conferred benefits on other 
nations, not for their good, but solely for our own, in order 
that with stronger allies we might feel safer. 

But as the military tension eases, for which we all devoutly 
pray, the world changes, and new challenges appear. 

The threat of the Soviets, for example, in dealing with the 


developing countries is a new and special challenge to a busi- 
ness community based upon free enterprise. Through the de- 
struction of freedom, the Russian ruling caste has created for 
itself a power which no free nation delegates to its governing 
group, and which no nation which seeks to preserve private 
initiative and free markets can match. Nothing like this new 
threat has ever been seen in history. If this power is ruthlessly 
employed in the world of international commerce, it can have 
a profound impact on the economic future of our country. 

I know of no specialized form of education which a young 
businessman might presently take which could equip him for 
the meeting of such new challenges, but I am sure that the 
solution lies outside the field of technical training. Such prob- 
lems, and there will be many more, must be attacked by men 
of resilient intellects whose educational disciplines have 
equipped them boldly to attack abstract questions for which 
they have had no special training. 

The eyes of the teeming multitudes in the backward parts 
of the world are watching us and our way of life, and one fur- 
ther thought is in their minds. They say that what we have 
achieved is magnificent, but that the process has been slow in 
comparison with that of our competitors, the Russians. They 
say that Russia has achieved in thirty years what it has taken 
us 1 75 years to accomplish, and that perhaps it would be wise 
for them to take the short-cut. Not having been reared amid 
our standards of freedom, they are not too sensitive to limita- 
tions on liberty. They look the other way at talk of what might 
happen if they should take Russia's path toward economic 

The thing that they do understand, however, and that 
they do take exception to, about our way of life, is our alleged 
insensitivity to spiritual and cultural values. They accept our 
technology and are happy to imitate it. They also accept our 


superficial manners, such as lipstick and jazz. But they are not 
sure that we have a higher culture that is worth imitating. 
They hold the strong conviction that the emphasis in our way 
of life finds expression only in material terms, and they do not 
want their new societies erected on that foundation. 

Here is the greatest challenge of all for the men with 
liberal education. 

The truly educated man who lives worthily at no time per- 
mits material considerations to dominate his life. When serv- 
ing a corporation, he never forgets that there are values which 
transcend tons of production and dollar volume of sales. He 
knows that the end of life is not the production of goods as 
such, but an effort to make it possible for more human beings 
to pursue the good life, as they conceive the good life to be. 

This is the lesson that we must teach the world. 

The young man who entered American industry at the 
time when the physical conquest of our continent was under 
way, when the railroads were spanning the prairies, the steel 
mills were being built, and the great banks were being estab- 
lished, must have had great excitement from the prospects 
that lay ahead of him. 

Today the challenges are far greater, far more exciting. 
Young men with vision will see this, and will accept the new 
responsibilities with eagerness and without fear. 

The rewards for living worthily transcend anything that 
human history has known. They will go to those who, by cul- 
tivation of the mind and illumination of the spirit, reach the 
highest level of inner growth. 


A ckno wledgementt 

For permission to reproduce the materials used in this volume, 
acknowledgement is made to the following publishers and indi- 

The Humanities Center for Liberal Education for Gilbert W. Chapman, 
Specific Needs for Leadership in Management; The Harvard Educational 
Review for Francis H. Horn, Liberal Education Reexamined (pp. 309-3 1 o) ; 
Dr. E. Digby Baltzell for Bell Telephone's Experiment in Education as it 
appeared in Harper's Magazine, March, 1955; Wilfred D. Gillen for ex- 
cerpts from The Institute of Humanistic Studies for Executives, The Fund for 
Adult Education; Frank W. Abrams for A Businessman Looks at Education 
Past High School, a speech before the President's Committee for Education 
Beyond High School at New York University, New York, April 30, 1957 
(pp. 6, 7); University of Pittsburgh Press for Ralph Barton Perry, "When 
Is Education Liberal," Modern Education and Human Values (Pitcairn — 
Crabbe Foundation Lecture Series, Volume III) ; The Macmillan Com- 
pany for Alfred North Whitehead, The Aims of Education (pp. 141 -142), 
Science and the Modern World (pp. 274-277); Harvard Business Review for 
Frederic E. Pamp, Jr., Liberal Arts as Training for Business, May-June 
1955, Vol. 33, No. 3; Harper & Brothers for Peter F. Drucker, America's 
Next Twenty Tears (pp. 15-16) and The Practice of Management (pp. 346, 
375) ; John Ciardi for An Ulcer, Gentlemen, Is an Unwritten Poem, Canadian 
Business, June 1955; Frederic R. Gamble for Distribution and the Liberal 
Arts College, Knox College Commencement Address, June 10, 1957; 
University of Chicago Press for Mortimer J. Adler, Labor, Leisure, and 
Liberal Education, Journal of General Education, Vol. 6, No. 1 , October 
1951 ; J. Roby Kidd for "Liberal Education for Business Leadership" 
(pp. n-14, 32) reprinted from the May 1957 issue of Adult Leadership, 
a monthly publication of the Adult Education Association of the U. S. A.; 
Robert J. Blakely for The Free Individual and the Free Society and Clarence 
B. Randall for The Randall Lectures, The Fund for Adult Education. 


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